The Greening

Something magical is happening.  Right now, as we speak.  Maybe metres away from where you’re sitting. Can you hear it? I expect it crackles, just a little bit. It is the buds bursting.  One by one by one. In February there were tremulous catkins quivering, palest green and yellow.  It was easy to miss them. …

Sissinghurst at the start of the season

  I live about ten minutes’ drive away from Sissinghurst Castle.  In the last 8 years, there has probably never been more than a three-week period when I have not visited.  You might think I would get bored, but no.  There is always lots to see; constant change and flux.  Since Troy Scott-Smith took over…

Gardening is the best drug

  Gardening, like love, is a drug. It’s a therapy, a remedy, a cure, a balm, a tingle, an itch that needs scratching, a rush, a thrill, a trip, a joy, an inspiration, a bolt of lightening, a jolt that starts the heart, a cornucopia of sensory delights, a phantasmagoria, a rainbow, a shimmering vision……

Bare arms in the sun!

In the last couple of weeks I have felt like some of my seedlings: etiolated, stretching my neck out towards the window, but failing to find the sun.  I have been desperate for some extended time in the garden. Yesterday the sun came out. First I’ll show you the hyacinths.  We inherited a lot of…

My pledge not to buy new stuff

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet.  A plastic one. But it’s not just plastic.  It is all unnecessary consumerism-gone-mad purchases. I’m a bit alarmed by seasonal merchandise. You don’t need a purpose-made basket for collecting chocolate eggs. You certainly don’t need a Halloween-themed hand-towel. Do you? So why are the shops and garden centres…

The gentle art of daydreaming

I have always been a dreamer.  Partly it is just noticing the little things, raindrops, shafts of sunlight, dust-motes, the fluttering of leaves, and partly it is being able to go on lovely little travels in my head when there is not much else going on.  I can fly; I can dive deep into the…

I have jelly in my lupins!

  This post is written in haste because I have just been able to repeat a discovery I made a couple of weeks ago. Water turns to jelly! My step-daughter and I discovered this together when we poked the water in the bird-bath early one morning, and it was gelatinous.  The surface tension was stronger,…

Cultivating a growth mind-set

I am an optimist.  I was blessed with optimistic parents.  I was brought up with a Northern “you’ll be right” sort of approach to minor disasters.  As long as you can’t see bone, a plaster will fix it. That is the most negative thing I can say about their optimistic outlook.  The positive aspect is this: Anything…

Flowergasm!

Some might say I am easily excited.  They’re right.  But I can’t hold back on this one. I may have said before that I am very partial to a seed catalogue.  The JParkers Dutch Bulb catalogue caused quite a stir a few weeks ago.  Sarah Raven catalogues can be relied upon to titillate, though it…

Five inspirational garden writers for International Women’s Day

  I couldn’t let International Women’s Day pass without a shout-out for my favourite garden writers. So here are the five books written by women gardeners that have most influenced me. 1. Sarah Raven ‘The Bold and Brilliant Garden’ This was the first gardening book I bought, 8 years ago. I had no house or garden…

My fantasy dahlia garden

Greed.  Isn’t it wonderful? Is there a word for people like me?  Do I need to go into rehab?  Do I need an intervention? For my birthday last year I was bought a book called ‘Dahlias’ by Andy Vernon.  It is like the crack cocaine of the gardening books.  I can’t get enough.  I need more. …

A Winter Walk

This morning Stevie suggested we go for a walk over the snowy fields before it all melts away. We tracked animal footprints, spotting lots of different-sized birds, rabbits, foxes, possibly a badger, possibly a deer. We admired the partly-frozen river and the undulating snowdrifts along its banks. There were gnarly oaks:. And blue blue sky….