Why is it that gardening in the public prints is so often treated as a fluffy subject for fluffy people?…
I spent the summer of 1976 working as a trainee gardener at the Arboretum Kalmthout in Belgium. My employer was…
Ursula Buchan casts further light on her grandfather’s famous novel
I have never written much about the one-acre shaw of native trees I planted in 1994, even though it is…
How 18th-century gardeners ordered their plants after a great storm, a terrible drought and ‘a little ice age’
I hesitate ever to criticise an author for the inappropriateness of a book’s title, since it’s more likely the fault…
It is a truism that writers of all kinds often find inspiration and solace in their gardens, as well as…
The vast majority of books written about British gardens and their histories are concerned with large ones, made and maintained,…
I’ll own up at once. Tim Richardson and Andrew Lawson, the author and photographer of The New English Garden (Frances…
Say a prayer for the volunteers who keep our churches standing
If you like to pass an idle half-hour, as I do, reading random entries in Who’s Who, you will be struck by how many distinguished people include gardening among their recreations.
‘Can we go to Alton Towers? Please?’ Is there any request that strikes more gloom into the heart of a parent during the half-term holiday than that? The idea of spending an expensive day queuing for terrifying rides, in an environment of tacky, non-sustainable and old-fashioned consumerism, ensured that I steadfastly deprived my children of this ‘fun day out’ throughout their childhood.
Several new facts have rocked me back on my heels recently: Alastair Cook garnered more runs at the Gabba in Brisbane than Don Bradman; there are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in your brain; more people in this country can recognise Simon Cowell than Pope Benedict; and we spend as much annually on ‘wild bird care’ — £200 million — as we do on peat and potting composts, and rather more than on fertilisers.
Fashion may be Folly’s child, but that never stopped gardeners, when the urge was on them, from planting something à la mode.
Can there be many spare bedrooms in the country that do not have at least one, and probably four, prints of Redouté rose engravings hanging on the walls? I know ours does.
One surefire sign of maturity is the acceptance that you have friends who are more talented than you are.
It is not unusual to hear older people complain about how little botany is taught in schools these days, a serious deficiency where young would-be gardeners are concerned.
Of all the reasons for making a garden, providing a space for entertaining people probably generates the most anxiety.
In every generation, there are at least two famous gardeners who inspire universal respect, if not necessarily affection, in their contemporaries.
God may have a special preference for beetles but, frankly, aphids (greenfly to you, squire) are more my thing. If that seems a barmy thing for a gardener to say, rest assured I get just as irritated as everyone else by their vigour-sapping, leaf-curling, virus-transmitting presence on my flowers, fruit, vegetables and greenhouse plants.
As you make your sandwiches and get out your comfortable shoes ready for a day at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show next week (24–29 May), do spare a thought for the 600 exhibitors of show gardens, plants, floral arrangements, educational exhibits and sundries.
On the face of it, the phrase ‘forest garden’ is a contradiction in terms, since trees in mature forests do not allow enough sun through the canopy for satisfactory gardening.
News that the government is setting up a ‘land bank’ of brownfield sites, consisting of bits and pieces of spare or disused land, and encouraging councils and private landowners to lease these out to local groups as allotments, underscores the impression of a national appetite for ‘growing your own’.
We have a picture hanging on a wall at home painted by Roger Fry about the time of the first world war and entitled ‘Pruning Trees’.
The gardening press in England is often criticised for being parochial.