A glass of flowers

For me, there are few things that make a home more happy or hopeful looking than a glass of flowers. Now, more than ever, it’s impossible not to appreciate a little glass of outdoors, inside your house. The last couple of weeks have seen the arrival of the first perennial flowers in our garden and … More A glass of flowers


The best-laid schemes

Last month included an important date in the diary of a Scot and, aside from the excuse to tuck into a plate of haggis, Burns Night also had me thinking on some of our national bard’s most well-remembered words: ‘The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft agley.’ Robert Burns It’s that time of … More The best-laid schemes

Sweet peas

I have a new floral obsession. This is the first year I’ve grown Sweet Peas and I’m officially hooked. My wonderful book, The Origin of Plants, tells me that Lathyrus Odaratus came to Britain in 1699 by way of a Scillian monk. Since then, we’ve taken them to our hearts. They’re easy to grow, come … More Sweet peas

A cut flower bed

There are two main raised beds in our garden. The first is for vegetables, the second is for cut flowers. There are times when I feel guilty about this, as we could be growing twice as much vege, but I love having cut flowers for the house and enjoy having the space for things I … More A cut flower bed

A note on peonies

When it comes to my garden, I have a particular weakness and that is flowers. When it comes to flowers, again I have a specific weakness and that is Peonies. I adore them. They’re top heavy, a little fussy, and take up lots of space, but only flower for a few weeks a year. It … More A note on peonies

A quiet spell

I’m afraid it has been far too long since my last post. There are a few reasons for this. A working Mum, with an energetic toddler and an ongoing building project, finding the time has been a little tricky. Just washing the plates in our upstairs bathroom (no kitchen for 3 months now) is rather … More A quiet spell


Blossom by blossom the spring begins. Algernon Charles Swinburne. I think it’s fair to say, spring is well and truly in progress. The first cherry blossom has appeared in our garden and other trees have fat pink buds, ready to burst open on the next sunny day. My husband and I planted one particular cherry … More Beginnings

A walled garden

Our garden is everything we need for our little family, but I still covet a walled garden. There’s a beautiful one at Calke Abbey, in Derbyshire. It’s a perfect place to get some inspiration, and there’s plenty of space for my son to run around in. With sunny weather and an energetic child, it seemed … More A walled garden


The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size — Gertrude S. Wister I’ve been trying to avoid saying it – it seemed too soon – I haven’t written much on winter yet. But, on a mild sunny day, with a wide, blue sky, … More Spring

Acid test

The Cambridge dictionary describes an acid test as ‘the true test of the value of something’. Well, that may be particularly true when it comes to assessing the pH levels in a garden. This simple test is one of the easiest things you can do to tailor your choice of planting to the conditions in … More Acid test

Time to propagate

One of the things I love to do most in the garden is grow new plants. Whether it’s from seeds or cuttings, there’s something wonderful about going from a tray of soil to a collection of fully grown plants. I sew a lot in my raised beds, but I’ve been short of somewhere warm so … More Time to propagate

A cold spell

There are few things more predictable in the world of gardening than the ‘unexpected’ cold spell. Shoots are appearing everywhere, the green growth of young bulbs is thrusting upwards, life is returning and, although it may seem rather early, the warm days continue until you finally accept it – spring must be coming. You let … More A cold spell

Little surprises

In winter the garden is far from the heady days of burgeoning cut flowers and luscious crops, but there are still pleasures to be had. One of my favourite cut flowers is at its best in winter; the Hellebore brings an early flash of colour, each flowerhead like a jewel amongst the brown leaves and … More Little surprises


Already! Underneath last year’s growth, yesterday, I found the unexpected – shoots! Thick and waxy and with the deep enticing hue of a Malbec, the first tentative hint of my beloved peonies has already appeared. This takes us to the question of ‘cutting back’. Removing dead wood and old growth from borders is a task … More Shoots

A new leaf

The start of a new year and the clock is reset in the garden. Bare earth is like a blank sheet and the imagination can run wild. This year it will fill with a rambling cacophony of colour and texture, that will burst open in layer after layer of foliage and petals for months on … More A new leaf

A seed

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn. B. C. Forbes And so… This is an experiment.  I’m a writer. I’ll leave you to judge whether I’m any good, but what I mean to say is I’ve been compelled to fill notepads with writing, … More A seed