The Elusive Benjamin Britten

‘Benjamin Britten’ is an intriguing rose.  Even David Austin himself says he finds the colour almost impossible to describe. I would call it a warm coral-red, which is quite bright and orangey on opening, but becomes a warm coral pink.  I might call it ‘watermelon’. The outer petals then fade unevenly, like vintage silk, being…

Lazy Days of Summer

This has been a good summer. The hot days have stretched on and on and on. I’ve been wishing we had a porch and a rocking chair. On the weekends I have been getting my gardening jobs done before about 10am, and then it is time for a Sat Cap (Saturday Cappuccino) with Stevie.  Then…

From Screen to Green

If left to their own devices my children would spend hours in front of a screen.  As I would have done at their age.  And did, in fact, with the telly. Screen-time can be creative and educational, and there are certainly apps and games that I think are brilliant. The drawback is that children don’t…

Pure Envy

Sarah Raven is the reason I am so obsessed by flowers.  Anyone who has her catalogue plop through their door will know why.  I love visiting her garden at Perch Hill, but walking around, I feel more than a little envy. I am totally envious of this fence. Oh. Dahlia envy. More. As you wind…

Into the Jungle

My mum and I went on an expedition to the jungle. We didn’t fly there.  We drove there in a little red mini. We went unprepared, without a mosquito net or insect repellent.  But we were wearing plenty of sun-cream. We’d set out for Great Dixter.  The expedition leader (me) failed to check whether it…

Starfire

I am having a glorious summer with Phlox.  I discovered Phlox through reading Christopher Lloyd’s Colour for Adventurous Gardeners, one of the gardening books I return to time and time again. I have written about my other Phlox varieties in Phloxy Lady? and Boring…  Now it is the turn of the loudest and proudest, Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’. This has wonderful…

Oasis

I got home at about 8pm last night.  The low sun was illuminating the peach tree and the cutting patch. It struck me how the raised beds are like an oasis in the middle of the parched lawn.  You can see how the moisture from the beds has kept the grass immediately near them green,…

Raindrops

On Friday we had some rain!  It was a steady drip for a couple of hours during the day, and then a bit more as I was going to bed.  It was badly needed: it felt like a rescue breath for the hedges and fruit trees. I have accidentally caught a couple of lovely water…

Butterflies and Buddleia in the Bright Border

It has been scorching for weeks.  Yes, weeks, not days.  We are having a proper summer.  Where you wake up every day and know you can eat breakfast outside, but have to get stuff done before 9am because then it will be too hot to move. Phlox is loving it.  As I was standing here,…

Sissinghurst in fine form

I think it has been four or five weeks since I visited Sissinghurst.  This is unprecedented.  It has just been too hot to do anything other than languish in the shade of my own garden. But the temperature temporarily dipped, so I could move again. The castle is being engulfed by planting. That’s the built…

The garden that keeps on giving

I expected the rose garden to be lovely in June.  I had planned for continuous succession of flowers, but I didn’t realise it would be delighting me quite so much in July. I am taking a ridiculous number of photos. It’s just that there are so many lovely textures.  Ticklish ones… Soft, bouncy ones… Bibbly-bobbly…

Bridget in her Bravery

I need to share one of my absolute favourite plants, Lychnis coronaria.  Its common names include ‘Dusty Miller’, ‘Rose Campion’ and, the one I only learnt recently, ‘Bridget in her Bravery’. This suits this plucky little character, who enlivens the June and July garden with magenta sprays of flowers. I discovered this plant through my mum. …