Tuesday, 25 April 2017


 just to stand still.

 Although this cold spell may stem the advancing tide a little,
the alliums are opening and the irises too.
Daily postings required to keep the record in order.

As someone cheerily pointed out on the radio this morning,
only eight weeks until the nights start drawing in.

This little one is away on tour.
Such is the life of a Thespian's child.
She has already had her first speaking part on the radio.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Colour saturation

Wakehurst Place and a private garden showing off their
rhododendrons and clematis.

This little pot and its contents, yielded by our garden.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Tulip time

Inspired by the school of not-doing-things-by-halves
as exemplified by this garden
and many others

I decided last year to have a cutting patch for tulips.

When it came to actually paying for them and considering the effort
of planting such quantities of bulbs,

I reverted to type and managed only half a bed,
amounting to about forty tulips.
These I have been mightily pleased with however.

I supplemented my vases with some taken from Great Dixter.
Not stolen I hasten to add.
They were being sold for £1 a bunch.
I passed one of my old pound coins to them.
They have to be used up by October 15th.

At Kew they have planted a tulip meadow.
It's very effective but I'm not sure if they intended them
to be in flower at the same time as the pink blossom above.
Everything is so early this year.

And finally a display at a Spring Flower show,
the three identical blooms in a vase category.

I didn't enter.

Maybe next year.

Post script:

lovely even as they faded.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

If it's Wednesday it must be Milwaukee

Brilliant sign sent by son from Milwaukee airport.
He was surely in urgent need of this facility 
as he hurtled around the USA for his work this last week. 
His thirtieth birthday was spent in transit.

Some recombobulating needed here too as I
  think back to his first emerging in Arrivals.
His Emergency emergence indeed
after spending far too long in transit!

My own birthday was spent in hospital with him 
where time stood still in a private room miraculously provided
by the NHS and filled with early Sweet Peas by my mother.

We brought him home after five days, in a carry cot
strapped onto the back seat of the car.
I remember that they gave me the little tin foil bowl
that they used to 'top and tail' him at bath time.
I clung to that bowl like a talisman until it wore out
and I realised that I would have to replace it with a bowl of my own
and that it would probably be alright.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017


I dug this up in the garden.
Isn't it sweet?
Measuring just 6cm in diameter,
probably a little souvenir pin tray from the 1950s.
It is so Parisian,
and such a charming thing to find when one is being
scratched by brambles and stung by nettles.

Friday, 24 March 2017


You know when you get one of those scratchy labels,
and you think you must just cut it out,
but you are in a bit of a hurry,
and think you could quite easily 
reach round  the back of your neck with the scissors
and very carefully snip it out?

You may all roll your eyes in disbelief.

But now, what if you think,
you have a lifetime's experience of remedying impulsive acts to draw on,
and no one need ever know?

I knew there was a reason to hang on to all those little fabric samples.
I may customise all my jumpers thusly.
It could be my trademark.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Sissinghurst Spring

Spring has arrived

and with it, the reopening

of Sissinghurst Castle garden.

New this year is the invitation

to step inside Vita and Harold's cottage
seen here from the tower.

Vita wasn't allowed to inherit Knole 
but Sissinghurst was regarded as an ancestral mansion  
that had the blood of the Sackville dynasty pulsing through its veins.

Unfortunately it was mostly uninhabitable.
Harold wrote to Vita in April 1930 saying that it was 
most unwise of them to get Sissinghurst.

'It cost us £12,000 to buy and will cost another good £15,000 to put in order.'

We were shown into what appeared to be the kitchen of South Cottage,
but in fact this was originally the flower room.
The kitchen was in an entirely separate building, 
which made for some pretty
nippy commuting at meal times in winter.
Two bedrooms- his and hers.
Hers, curiously, having no wardrobe
and bare brick walls which she insisted upon 
when she saw workmen beginning to apply plaster.
Harold's book room with some of his 3000 books
and their sitting room are all more or less originally furnished.

The bathroom was made comfortable by this nifty contrivance:
a bathrack with integral book rest, candle stick
and wine glass holder -
similar available on eBay should you wish to emulate.

Their son Nigel raised the bath onto a dais to take advantage of the view.

Nigel had the gazebo built overlooking the moat
and used it as his summer office.

The door was open while he worked and visitors' children
were given bread to feed to the birds on the moat.

I spotted Dan Pearson deep in conversation
with the head gardener Troy Scott Smith but despite lurking nearby
behind this statue, did not pick up any free gardening tips to pass on to you.