Hunting Brook Gardens, County Wicklow

  It was raining as we arrived at Hunting Brook; a light, steady drizzle filtering through opaque air. The lanes leading to the garden were bounded by sullen brambles and parched grasses, begging for relief from the heat and drought. Inside, thalictrums and fennels were spangled with water droplets, bowing gently beneath the unfamiliar weight. […]

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10 Easy Flowering Bulbs to Plant For Summer Colour

  There are few plants as rewarding and foolproof to grow as those that sprout from bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes. Among their number we can count favourites such as gladioli, begonias, lilies, dahlias, amaryllis and nerines, alongside lesser known, exotic beauties such as habranthus (Brazilian copperlily), gloriosa (glory lily), eucomis (pineapple lily), eremurus (foxtail […]

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Great Dixter Autumn Plant Fair 2017

  My last hurrah before departing for India was a trip aross Kent to the Great Dixter Autumn Plant Fair. I neither had the time nor the need to buy more plants, but I went anyway, prepared to be abstemious: I was feeling brave. I have never visited Great Dixter as late in the year […]

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In The Night Garden

When was the last time you ventured out into your garden after nightfall? Not at dusk, or to put the rubbish out, but to walk there when it’s properly dark? If it’s been a while, or you’ve never considered such an adventure, I urge you to do so. The garden is a different world after […]

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Fond Farewells

  If it were not for the soft patter of rain on the skylight above my desk, I might hear a pin drop. My house guests have gone home, tired and happy, to their own beds and their own familiar routines. The sound of my niece shouting “No Dan!” and “Silly Uncle Dan!” is still […]

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Holiday Mode

  Our “proper” holiday, by which I mean a holiday where I am looked after rather than being expected to look after others, has not come a moment too soon. I’ve had the busiest fortnight at work I can remember, combined with a paltry amount of sleep. “Breakthrough week”, which involves smashing big holes between […]

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The Plight of the Bumblebee

  I like bees, but I love bumblebees more. The sight of their comedically cumbersome bodies ambling across an umbel, or alighting delicately on a gossamer-thin petal never fails to amuse me. Bumblebees are amiable little creatures, disinclined to harass or sting humans, unlike some of their close relatives. They live in small colonies and tend not […]

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Creating a Splash

  At 8.30 this morning I had the pleasure of showing Margie, Helen and Sarah from our fantastic local gift shop around the garden at The Watch House. Being a retailer myself I appreciate that weekends are not always available for doing as one pleases: customers must come first. We arranged a pre-opening tour and […]

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Waiting and Anticipating

  When preparing for our garden opening, I find I end up doing anything but gardening. Over the last two days I have been painting the front gate, unearthing chairs from the cellar, jet-washing the terrace, scrubbing garden furniture, making beds, stapling leaflets and dashing to the shops for this and that instead of tending […]

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The Final Countdown 

  Twelve days to go and preparation for this year’s garden opening feels like one of those bad dreams where, try as one may, one never reach the finishing line. I can usually let go of the reins a little during August, but with the opening happening at the end of the month I have to […]

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