Into the Wilderness

Warning: this is a post about our Christmas tree, so if you have already reached peak bauble please move on. Every year for the past eight years, since moving to East Sussex, we have bought our Christmas tree from Wilderness Wood, 62 acres of coppiced woodland on the edge of the village of Hadlow Down….

Bare bones

The last rose, a final flowering hollyhock, these are the little treats that the end of the year throws up, but for the most part December is the month when the garden is finally reduced to its bare bones. This can be dispiriting, particularly when it is accompanied by low light levels and cold, damp…

The dead and the living

It has been a bit too cold to go out into the garden much this week, but I have been inspired to pop out to see what is growing – and what is not – by the lure of joining in with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden’s In A Vase on Monday meme. Even…

Jasmine and friends: In a Vase on Monday

This week I have been reading the gardening classic Down The Garden Path by Beverley Nichols which I am going to review on Sunday for a new regular winter slot on my Gardener’s Bookshelf. Nichols has a thing for winter flowers, which he recommends picking in bud. He writes: “Most people… do not realise how…

Astral week: In a Vase on Monday

Last week I joined in with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden’s In A Vase on Monday for the first time – on the meme’s fourth anniversary. Then I chose just one bloom, a single purple Gladiolus, displayed in a milk bottle holder, as the challenge was to use something other than a vase to…

Alliums and Auriculas: this week in the garden at Charleston

Winter can be the most exciting time in the garden. There is no denying that back in May when I started volunteering at Charleston just as the annual literary festival was getting under way, the garden was looking divine with romantic tumbling roses, gorgeous towering hollyhocks and heavenly blue delphiniums. Then, later in the season…

In a Vase on Monday: a pint of purple

Today is the 4th anniversary of the In a Vase on Monday meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden This week to mark the occasion, Cathy has challenged fellow bloggers to put their blooms in something other than a vase. This single stem – the last of the gladioli I bought at the…

Late to the houseplant party

I have spent the last few years finding out everything I can about growing plants outside, but when it comes to houseplants I still have a blind spot. For some reason, my brain fails to compute that houseplants, like all plants, need watering and feeding. The real miracle in our house is just how long some…

Rewards and fairies

  “I’m Puck, the oldest Old thing in England,” says the eponymous magical creature in Rudyard Kipling’s children’s book Puck of Pook’s Hill.  The landscape around Kipling’s East Sussex home Bateman’s seemed very old, almost timeless when we visited on a beautiful crisp autumnal afternoon. It is that time of year when the leaves on…

Pumpkin parade

Over the half-term holidays we visited Leeds Castle in Kent with the Little Weeds. I had always feared Leeds Castle might be a bit too commercial, but even on a drizzly October day was pleasantly surprised to find it is a very well-run destination, with something for everyone. The ticket price was not cheap –…

Shrub Wars: the director’s cut

I have been feeling a bit oppressed by our garden of late. It is filled with mature shrubs, planted by someone else and then left to grow into huge megaliths. The result is not so much Sleeping Beauty’s castle as elephants’ graveyard. So with autumn here and nesting time over, I decided it was the…