The Long Haul

I understand William Hill are taking bets on whether or not this bloomin’ hedge of mine will survive. It certainly don’t look good – even worse than before, if that’s even possible. To recap, about a month ago, my gorgeous, 14 year-old hedge looked like this: with its cute little baby sister next to it,…

Events a-go-go

Anyone would think it’s all been doom and gloom on the plot recently. It hasn’t. There have been events a-go-go and if I lost all my strawberries and raspberries to my intruders’ munchie-attacks, at least they’ve clearly been too stoned/busy enabling others to get stoned to take any interest in taking anything that needs actual…

WAR! HUH! What is it good for? Exterminating Caterpillars!

Okay, I went away. I went to the West Country for FOUR DAYS. When I got back, my lovely box hedges had turned from this: had turned into this: Seriously – FOUR BLOOMIN’ DAYS! Just look at these two: At first I thought it was blight but then I recognised the nasty, lacy, cobwebby skeletons…

Site security

I’m not a naturally frightened person. I deal with stuff as it comes and handle crises reasonably well. Some years ago, I came home to find my flat burgled. It freaked me out – not because of what was taken but because someone had invaded a world I thought was personal and private. They’d been…

White currants a-go-go – but what the bloomin’ heck to do with ’em?

I give myself this problem every year. I like white currants; they’re sweeter than their red sisters, less mouth-puckering than their black cousins. You can eat them straight off the bush but, frankly, they’re not so exciting you’d actually want to. I have three white currant Blanka bushes. They crop excellently, give me no trouble…

Event: Garlic

  So, for the past n years I’ve been growing bog-standard, hardneck garlic, in what I now consider the mistaken belief that it has a better flavour. I forget the variety, I’ve been saving the bulbs for next year – apparently garlic ‘adapts’ to the local soil. I have no idea if that’s true. It…

Event: Peas are like Love

‘Peas will break your heart,’ a chap on my last allotment told me as I gaily sowed a couple of rows in my rookie year as an allotmenteer. Bob had a few choice other comments to make about my attempts as a gardener and although at the time I didn’t take them too kindly, I…

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

…at Warley Place, anyway. Most people love Warley for its drifts of daffodils. After all, Daffs mean Prizes – Miss Willmott won RHS medals a-go-go for hers. She even boobytrapped the best ones and carried a revolver in her handbag against bulb thieves. There must still be a few prize specimens in there, it’s a…

In Defence of the Spanish Bluebell

Listening to Gardeners Question Time I was shocked to hear the venom with which virtually everyone regards Spanish bluebells.  In the wild, yes, absolutely, they are to our delicate native bluebell what the grey squirrel is to the red. If they are going to be anywhere near our dainty wildflowers, where they might hybridise, you’re darn tootin’ they…

A Year at Warley Part V: Things that just fetch up…

Garden archaeology doesn’t come much more exciting than finding something pretty much every time you dig. I’ve been visiting Warley Place for thirty-odd years and every time I go something new has been uncovered by the dedicated team of volunteers. Sometimes it’s a bit of brick wall, sometimes a cobbled path. It might be yet…

Event: Asparagus Pacific 2000

You never forget your first time. Some events come easily. They’re a joy for their simplicity and flavour, yes, and I wouldn’t be without them. Others are hard-won, which means when you finally get to try them they are all the sweeter for it. My journey to Asparagus Nirvana began in 2014, when my lovely…

A Year at Warley Place, Part IV: Daffodils

Miss Willmott had a thing for daffs. No, really, she was crazy about them. On joining the male-dominated Royal Horticultural Society she promptly invaded the all-male Narcissus Committee and won gold medals in four consecutive years. Warley Place would have been sunshine-yellow with prize hybrids, named for her sister and brother in law, and a much-missed sister…