Now is the Time to Plant Spring Bulbs

Whilst tempting to lament the summer that never was, now is the time to be looking ahead and planting your spring-flowering bulbs. The first 2022 catalogues seemed to arrive earlier than ever this year, some of them well before the last tulips had faded in our garden. With no opportunity to impress customers at the […]

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Arctic April

It has been the strangest month; cold – indeed the frostiest April in sixty years – and desert-dry. Although we’ve escaped spring frosts here on the East Kent coast, it has been bitter day-in, day-out, with desiccating winds blowing in from the north and east. Most days I have returned from walking the dogs feeling […]

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Hurrah! the Ides of March

Our garden is at its lowest ebb from early February until the Ides of March, on the 15th of the month. Battered by gales laden with salt and sand, scorched by snow and starved of light, everything but the eternal evergreens* is pale, frazzled or mushy. I try to like what I see, but I […]

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April Showers

Unpredictability is the name of the game when it comes to British weather, but one old proverb certainly promises to ring true in 2019: ‘March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.’ Whilst the warmth and vitality of May still feel a long way off, March and April are fulfilling their time-honoured roles as […]

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The Late Late April Show

Spring is arriving in slow motion at The Watch House. I’ve been watching a single bud of Narcissus ‘Golden Ducat’ striving to open for ten days, willing it to reveal the acid-yellow petals tightly furled within. My clematis have been held in suspended animation since early February, their tender shoots primed and raring to go. […]

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The Great Dixter Dozen

  It’s rare that I sacrifice commentary for imagery, but as I look back over the photographs I took at Great Dixter last weekend, I can’t help feeling they speak for themselves. And, being without my laptop, I’m also going to publish them as they were taken, with minimal enhancement and just a brief description. […]

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My Own Private Keukenhof

Tulips are a special passion of mine. They are inexpensive, easy to grow, endlessly colourful and, most importantly, good to look at. I am not the first to be enamoured of the tulip’s elegant, silken blooms and I certainly won’t be the last. Their appeal was first recognised by the Turks in about 1,000 AD […]

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Enchanted April

It really has been the most remarkable April. So far not a single drop of rain has fallen on either of our gardens and, although night temperatures have hovered just above freezing, the days have been sunny and warm. The result has been an avalanche of flowers. The daffodils that sat and shivered through March […]

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Slow Motion

Since the first balmy weekend in March I have watched both our gardens move forward as if in slow motion. Temperatures have remained resolutely low, bringing to a halt the tulips, narcissi and hyacinths that seemed so eager to get going in late February. In the span of two weeks their fat buds and leafy shuttlecocks have edged forward only the tiniest […]

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All the Fun of the Fair

For the last three days I have been trawling Europe’s trade fairs searching for the next big thing in the world of Christmas. I hate to disappoint, but there is no such thing as ‘the next big thing’ when it comes to our favourite celebration of the year. It’s traditional, and that’s exactly how it […]

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