This year’s failures

Today I am gardening in my own garden for the first time in about a month – and I feel like a failure. I love gardening, but right now there are people who care not a jot about horticulture who have better maintained gardens than mine. In my defence we are two weeks into the…

The garden estate

It is all very well visiting great gardens with acres of herbaceous borders, towering yew topiary and water features the size of Lake Windermere, but there is a particular pleasure in seeing what can be achieved in an an ordinary back garden. Which is why I always look forward to Nevill Open Gardens, an event…

Volunteering in the garden at Charleston

My favourite time of day in the garden at Charleston is first thing in the morning when I arrive to work as a volunteer after dropping the kids at school and nursery. The garden is not yet open to visitors and there is often not a soul to be found, leaving space to imagine that…

Hollyhock Envy

There is something missing in my garden. Actually, there’s lots missing. In Spring it was filled with tulips, narcissi and hyacinths  from all the bulbs I planted last autumn. In early summer there were alliums and peonies. But now it is looking a bit bare and what I crave to fill it most of all…

Driftwood: a magical oasis by the sea

The day before we visit Driftwood, a party from Tokyo spent six hours in Geoff Stonebanks’ coastal cottage garden. And in May an Austrian garden society came to visit. It is a testament to Geoff’s passion and skill in turning the back garden of a bungalow overlooking the sea in East Sussex into an outdoor…

Into the Secret Gardens

Behind a row of Victorian terrace houses in the East Sussex town of Lewes where we live, is a large and hidden secret garden. It is privately owned, but opens each summer as part of the National Garden Scheme and Southover Open Gardens, a garden trail to raise funds for the Southover Bonfire Society (Lewes…

Half term pests 

No not the children (although they have their moments). We arrived back from a lovely weekend listening to kids’ authors talk about their books at the Hay Festival to find the broad beans covered in black aphids.   I set to work like a woman possessed and washed them all off with soapy water then…

Chelsea 2017 Part 3: Every Garden Tells A Story

The best of the smaller show gardens at Chelsea this year each tell a story. Like the cover of a book, at first glance you can tell what genre of literature you are looking at. Then, as you spend a while ‘reading’ the garden, understanding it’s structure and planting, the story unfolds. Fresh Gardens Breast…

Chelsea 2017 Part 2: On the Sunbury side of the street

Peter Seabrook has been The Sun’s gardening correspondent for 40 years. As an aspiring garden writer it was a great pleasure to meet him in the Great Pavilion at Chelsea at 40 Sunbury Road, a 16mx5m plot put together by the Horticultural Trades Association and the Association of Professional Landscapers working with Peter to celebrate…

Chelsea 2017: A Festival for the Bees

Bees were everywhere at Chelsea today, and who could blame them with a strong naturalistic theme running through many of the Large Show Gardens. Best in show Our first stop was James Basson’s Best in Show M&G Garden inspired by a Maltese quarry. Here one plant in particular caught our eye: the so-called giant fennel  (Ferula…

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

I have been so busy with work and family lately that I have not managed to fit in much time to blog, or spent anywhere near as long as I would like in our garden. So Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day May 2017 hosted by Carol at maydreamsgardens.com seemed like the perfect chance to get back…

Dinosaur roar – a miniature garden

Littlest Weed is a dinosaur obsessive. At the age of just 3 he knows his Muttaburasaurus from his Allosaurus, has seen every episode of Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures on CBeebies several times over, and has perfected his impression of a T-Rex after hours of practice scaring his older sisters. So what better way to get him…