TALES FROM THE GIN & TONIC GARDEN, Part II

It’s almost 15 months since the Gin & Tonic Garden first came into being. My compact, 20ft x 20ft courtyard is still occasionally referred to as ‘the other garden’, ‘the new garden’ or ‘the back garden’, even though my house has no definitive front or back. When visitors come to The Watch House, the Gin […]

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In The Limelight: My Day Filming With BBC Gardeners’ World

  I’ll let you into a secret – I’m not very good at keeping secrets. When BBC Gardener’s World contacted me, quite out of the blue, I was a tiny bit sceptical. Sometimes these things naturally come to nothing and I didn’t want to build my hopes up. But before I knew it a date […]

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The Final Countdown

Twenty days to go and the countdown to my NGS garden open weekend is well underway. In truth the garden does not need another twenty days to look its best; it’s there already. I am mildly concerned that it will peak too soon, but there’s no holding it back now. Recent weather has been exceptional, […]

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Reflections on a Busy Week

What a rollercoaster ride last week was. It began with visits to two very fine private gardens, open by appointment for the National Garden Scheme, and ended with a frantic day of potting up and bedding out in my own garden at The Watch House. In between came the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in Derbyshire and […]

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Dentists and Indulgences: The Return from Chelsea

  There is nothing quite like a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show to galvanise one into action vis-à-vis one’s own garden. I returned home on Tuesday night brimming with ideas but with an ominous stuffed-up feeling. I assumed this was related to the notorious Chelsea cough, only to find that by Wednesday morning I […]

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10 Books on my Winter Reading List

  Having built myself a library, you would think I’d be spending all my time sitting about and reading. Unfortunately that’s so far from being the truth that I am rather embarrassed to admit it. Even when I have ‘spare’ time, there’s always another task begging for attention; usually a practical one. During my four-hour […]

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Winter Sun

I love it when it’s cold and sunny. I can tolerate the frostiest weather so long as I have the sun’s rays on my back. Unfortunately I got it all wrong this weekend, wasting two cloudless days on shopping, pottering and socialising, and saving an epic number of gardening jobs for Monday, which was dreary, […]

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Preparing The Watch House for Winter

  When I left my garden, in early October, it was still a summer garden. By the time I returned, at the end of the month, it was definitely an autumn one. The change was subtle, yet profound; sad, yet inevitable. The point of no return had been reached and there was nothing for it […]

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The Morning After The Weekend Before

  It did not take long to go to sleep last night. After a weekend of baking, talking, entertaining, watering, meeting, greeting, fetching and carrying we were both absolutely shattered. 180 lovely people came to visit the garden; not a record, but we value quality above quantity and we certainly achieved that. At the final […]

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So Far, So Good!

  Day two of our garden opening is always a more relaxed affair and I am thoroughly looking forward to it. On day one the rain absented itself, but the wind did not. At times yesterday it gusted so hard that I got lost in a blizzard of white begonia flowers cascading from the shelves […]

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