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…

Adventures in the Enchanted Forest

It was forecast to be a dull October Sunday, but as we arrived at Groombridge Place in Kent, it turned out to be one of those perfect autumn days, when the year reminds you how beautiful the growing season has been. It was a day for adventures and Groombridge is definitely the place to have…

Mums the word

In France at this time of year the florist shops are full of colourful displays of chrysanthemums. But do not make the mistake of buying them for someone as a gift. Here as in most Catholic countries, chrysanthemums are reserved for placing on graves  on La Toussaint, All Saint’s Day, on November 1st. In China,…

Shortcuts: this week in the garden at Charleston

  As I have already written I volunteer one day a week in the garden at Charleston Farmhouse in East Sussex. Having studied for and gained the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture, I want to get some practical experience under my belt. This week Fiona, the head gardener, set me to work…

Gathering

Last Friday on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour presenter Jenni Murray interviewed Shetland poet Jen Hadfield about gathering at the Autumn equinox. “I really feel that urge to gather in the autumn time” revealed the poet, who at this time of year line fishes for mackerel and picks porcini mushrooms from a secret hill. I cannot…