7 Reasons to love the Charleston Festival of the Garden

The Concept: the two-day Festival of the Garden was curated by leading landscape designer and 8 times Chelsea gold medallist Tom Stuart-Smith. This year’s subtitle was ‘Gardening for Curious Minds’, with themes including husbandry versus wildness, allotments and sustainability and the healing garden. I was only able to attend – as a volunteer – on…

Six on Saturday: How to plant an apple tree

This week’s six come not from my own garden, but from the garden at Charleston Farmhouse in East Sussex where I volunteer one day a week. This week, we were joined by Zuky from Sussex Apple Trees, who showed us the best way to plant an apple tree. Charleston has bought a small collection of…

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…

Six on Saturday: An Artist’s Garden

It is exactly a year since I started volunteering one day a week in the garden at Charleston farmhouse in East Sussex, where artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant lived and painted in the middle decades of the twentieth century. So for this week’s six I am sharing some photographs I took of the garden…

This Week at Charleston: Brown Gold

This week at Charleston I was mainly knee deep in compost. Fiona, the Head Gardener, is determined to have a ready supply of good, well-rotted and most importantly free compost for the garden. Making your own compost is also great for the environment, so I was happy to get stuck in to the task of…

Six on Saturday: After the rain

Actually make that in the middle of the rain as there is more on the way, but this morning the sun came out for long enough for me to venture out. 1. Our new pirate ship We had this awkward raised shady bed at the back of the garden under a bay tree where nothing…