The Watch House NGS Open Weekend 2014

It was about this time last year when our friend Beth began twisting our arm to open for the National Gardens Scheme. We took the plunge, and in February found ourselves numbered 104 on the map of Kent in the famous Yellow Book. On the eve of this weekend it still seemed unlikely to me that […]

Read More

Gardening Leave

No, I haven’t quit my job or been given my marching orders, but I have taken a couple of days off to prepare the garden for our National Gardens Scheme open days this weekend. I am fastidious at the best of times, but risk turning a little bit obsessive-compulsive over the next 24 hours. Suddenly […]

Read More

The Heat Is On

I love a bit of sun as much as the next man, but when the mercury rises above 25 degrees I am not at my best. I become sluggish, irritable and less inclined to get up and go. If I were a plant, I’d be an alpine, at my best in the spring and enjoying […]

Read More

Jungle Warfare

At a certain point each year our seaside garden passes from a neat, orderly state into jungly bedlam. It becomes increasingly hard to move around without getting swiped in the face by a wayward lily, tripped by a flailing jasmine or toppled by a booby-trapped begonia. Getting to the front door requires a machete, if we can find it in […]

Read More

Uncouth Cats and Kamikaze Kisses

On Saturday we a had a visitation from the Assistant County Organiser for the Kent National Gardens Scheme. So naturally, what could go wrong promptly went wrong. Eager to impress I was up at the crack of dawn to prepare for our inspection. The weather was a dream – sunny and breezy with the morning […]

Read More

The Problem With Lilies

Lilium regale – the ultimate lily? Lilies are, without question, one of the most elegant summer flowering bulbs. Gertrude Jekyll, the renowned garden designer and plantswoman, would frequently plant large clumps of Lilium regale in strategic spots, creating height and drama at pivotal points in her schemes. In addition to stature, the lilies also contributed […]

Read More

The Evening Crowns The Day

‘The evening crowns the day’ was one of my grandmother’s favourite sayings.  As is so often the case in Cornwall where she lived, a dank, drizzly day has ended with blue skies and warm, dappled sunshine.  The clear light reveals a garden at the height of its powers.  Bright dahlias vie for attention and the […]

Read More

Daily Flower Candy: Lilium speciosum ‘Rubrum’

This graceful lily, Lilium speciosum ‘Rubrum’ is one of the last lilies to flower each summer. It blooms profusely, its bold burgundy-red speckled petals curling back on themselves as the buds open. Like other lily species, the flowers’ fragrance is unmistakable and intoxicating. L. speciosum ‘Rubrum’ dislikes our chalky soil, so it’s essential to grow […]

Read More

In The Garden This Week

Our coastal garden is starting to look really exciting now, with lots of lush growth being encouraged by the warm sunshine.  It’s still very leafy for the time of year, with some flowers a number of weeks behind.   Our Agapanthus africanus are normally on the brink of blooming by now, but the snake-like heads are […]

Read More

Hampton Court Flower Show 2013: My Top 10 Plants

Like a horticultural fashion show, Britain’s flower shows provide the launch pad for new ideas in gardening and the latest introductions from breeders and plant hunters. The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the world’s biggest, and after Chelsea one of the most prestigious. Unlike Chelsea, exhibitors can sell their wares direct to the general […]

Read More