Six on Saturday: Sunshine, no rain

I wonder how other SOS-ers in Europe are coping with the current dry weather? Two water authorities in the UK have now declared a hosepipe ban. If Southern Water follows suit I don’t hold out much hope for our new lawn. I am beginning to think that I will have to choose only drought tolerant plants…

Six on Saturday: Blooming madness

Today is our wedding anniversary and last night we stayed over at The Bell in Ticehurst, East Sussex. The Bell is quite an unusual pub with rooms, which also organises literary events and a mini music festival. We stayed in one of four lodges set in a charming, slightly overgrown garden which was designed by…

Smelling the roses at Charleston

After nearly a month away, it was wonderful this week to be back volunteering in the garden at Charleston – the former country retreat of artist Vanessa Bell, sister of Virginia Woolf and her painting partner Duncan Grant. Boy has the garden bloomed since I was last there. This week, head gardener Fi gave me…

Chelsea take aways

One of the themes of this year’s Chelsea Flower Show is inspiring people to take away ideas which they can use in their own gardens. After spending a perfect English summer’s day enjoying the show gardens and stands with my green-fingered mum, here are some of the trends, plants and designs which caught my imagination….

How Great Dixter gets its garden ready

  As I walk up the York stone path to the timber-framed porch of Great Dixter my first thought is “I wonder what’s in the pots?” I have visited the famous East Sussex garden and home of the late Christopher Lloyd on three previous occasions and have never failed to be impressed by the display…

Half-term crowds at RHS Wisley

As we turned into RHS Wisley on a sunny Friday towards the end of half-term, I thought we had made a terrible mistake. While we queued to get into the overflow car park and watched legions of welly-booted sprogs marching towards the entrance, Mr Carrot suggested turning back and trying somewhere else. I pointed out that…

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….

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 –…