Ursula Buchan

The garden at Thenford, Northamptonshire

The best gardening books of 2016

3 December 2016 9:00 am

Garden design usually breaks out of its confines to become part of the general consciousness only in Chelsea Flower Show…

The real gardeners’ questions answered

5 December 2015 9:00 am

Why is it that gardening in the public prints is so often treated as a fluffy subject for fluffy people?…

Perfectly stacked wood, Norwegian-style

Top tips for gardeners — from stroking seedlings to stacking logs

21 November 2015 9:00 am

I spent the summer of 1976 working as a trainee gardener at the Arboretum Kalmthout in Belgium. My employer was…

The many lives of John Buchan

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Ursula Buchan casts further light on her grandfather’s famous novel

Acer palmatum ‘Osakasuki’, the Japanese maple

There is good in every tree, says Thomas Pakenham — even the sycamore

26 September 2015 8:00 am

I have never written much about the one-acre shaw of native trees I planted in 1994, even though it is…

Primula auricula

How 18th-century gardeners ordered their plants after a great storm, a terrible drought and ‘a little ice age’

23 May 2015 9:00 am

I hesitate ever to criticise an author for the inappropriateness of a book’s title, since it’s more likely the fault…

Castle Cottage in Near Sawrey, Cumbria, where Beatrix Potter lived after her marriage to William Heelis

Behind (almost) every great writer is a great garden

8 November 2014 9:00 am

It is a truism that writers of all kinds often find inspiration and solace in their gardens, as well as…

‘At the Cottage Door’, by Myles Birket Foster (1825–99)

Beauty in beastly surroundings

26 April 2014 9:00 am

The vast majority of books written about British gardens and their histories are concerned with large ones, made and maintained,…

The elegant stems of the hornbeam allow for views down into the five garden compartments on the south side of the long water garden at Temple Guiting by Jinny Blom. (From The New English Garden by Tim Richardson)

The most important gardening book of the year

16 November 2013 9:00 am

I’ll own up at once. Tim Richardson and Andrew Lawson, the author and photographer of The New English Garden (Frances…

A churchwarden’s lament

11 February 2012 2:30 pm

Say a prayer for the volunteers who keep our churches standing

To pastures new

26 March 2011 12:00 am

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.

Family friendly

26 February 2011 12:00 am

‘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.

Our avian friends

29 January 2011 12:00 am

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.

Gardens: Beguiled by olive trees

18 December 2010 12:00 am

Fashion may be Folly’s child, but that never stopped gardeners, when the urge was on them, from planting something à la mode.

Gather ye roses

20 November 2010 12:00 am

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.

French foray

16 October 2010 12:00 am

One surefire sign of maturity is the acceptance that you have friends who are more talented than you are.

Buzz words

18 September 2010 12:00 am

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.

Rising to the occasion

14 August 2010 12:00 am

Of all the reasons for making a garden, providing a space for entertaining people probably generates the most anxiety.

Inspiration for all

24 July 2010 12:00 am

In every generation, there are at least two famous gardeners who inspire universal respect, if not necessarily affection, in their contemporaries.

In praise of greenfly

16 June 2010 12:00 am

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.

Chelsea challenge

19 May 2010 12:00 am

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.

Wild at heart

21 April 2010 12:00 am

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.

Digging the dirt

24 March 2010 12:00 am

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’.

Brains and brawn

24 February 2010 12:00 am

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’.

Go west

20 January 2010 12:00 am

The gardening press in England is often criticised for being parochial.