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…

Shelter

I wrote a post last Sunday called From Screen to Green which was all about ways to entice children away from their devices into the garden. My two daughters had just returned from Australia that morning. I always encourage them to spend time outdoors on the day they return, as daylight can help to re-set the…

From Screen to Green

We’re halfway through the summer holidays in the UK and I wonder how many households are having arguments over screens? 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…

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. On the ‘Grow your own cut flowers’ Facebook page last week, the lovely LP posted a picture of the newest catalogue with the comment “Well this is dangerous”. We all knew exactly…

Cabbage White Butterfly

On Saturday I took part in the Big Butterfly Count.  This couldn’t be easier.  All you need to do is download the app and then sit in a sunny spot and count butterflies for 15 minutes. My most common species was the Gatekeeper butterfly, which featured in Coming in to land…  This was followed by the large…

Thugs’ Corner

I have been meaning to post for a while about the area of our garden known as ‘Thug’s Corner’.  This is the planting area along the fence which separates my flower garden from Stevie’s allotment. Really, its peak in prettiness is early June, when it looks like this: The Geranium magnificum then goes over, and…

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,…