This Week

lazy bulb experiment

lazy bulb experiment

All the lovely tulips which I chose last summer - after carefully working my way through several bulb catalougues, marking the loveliest and gradually reducing and whittling down the list to make it manageable - are starting to flower now.  We were so tired in the autumn that Barney and his friend Nicholas dug five big trenches and then just layered the different kinds of bulbs in on top...

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first bouquets

first bouquets

I think the garden now is a good month ahead of where it was this time last year. We pull out weeds, trim and prune and cut back old perennials, while hyacinths, tulips and narcissi rewards us with their fresh clean silken spring flowers. 'Exotic Emperor' is always the first tulip to flower in our garden, and perhaps this is one of the reasons why it is my favourite....

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Month of Magic

Month of Magic

My favourite time of the year.  I love the feeling of life squeezing and erupting all around me: silent, but I can almost hear it like the rumble of an underground train in the great soft brown bowels of the earth.  The lovely soft sticky ground, which until a week or two ago was so claggy and heavy that it was simply unworkable, and which in another week's time will be...

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foggy, what

foggy, what

The flowers may be dormant in the January garden, but there is still plenty of work for us to do, potting on our autumn sown seedlings and reorganising our outbuildings.  Everything we sowed in the little polytunnel in the autumn is doing really well now - sweet peas, larkspur, bupleurum and ammi - including two trays of seed which were sown by students one of our Grow Your Own Cut Flowers...

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Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

It was a great pleasure this week for us to be asked to provide natural, old-fashioned Christmas decorations for a country house.  We spent two days foraging and harvesting branches of evergreens and catkins from our own wild garden and roundabouts, before settling down to wire everything together to make huge wreaths and garlands for the house.  One kind friend who is about to leave...

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Decorating our cottage

Decorating our cottage

The bulbs are all planted now, and we are feeling very festive.  We've been cutting wiggly willow at the Flower Garden to make bases for our own Christmas wreaths, then foraging in our overgrown orchard and wild paddock for bay leaves, ivy berries, douglas fir branches and anything else that looks nice, to make the wreaths lush and comfortable-looking.  I push my square grey...

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first frosts

first frosts

We've returned from our holiday to find frost-blackened dahlias and golden-russet leaves twinkling down from the branches of shrubs, as winter takes a grip on the garden.  Bright blue skies, low-whirling red kites and buzzards, the repetitive bang of guns and the friendly smell of wood smoke all tell us that we are approaching December, and remind us that we still have a lot of work to do....

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End of the Season

End of the Season

We are about to leave the garden for almost a month: it will gently slide through autumn and into winter without us as we go away to Greece for some longed for late summer sunshine.  We're so looking forward to going away, but we are also loathe to leave the garden, looking so peaceful and beautiful at this time of year, and still pumping out lots of lovely flowers.  Kind friends...

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dahlias galore

dahlias galore

As the rest of the garden begins to fade now, the dahlias are powering on and providing the backbone of our weekly flower deliveries to Hereford and Ludlow.  As we continue to pick, we are also able to make time now to clear away some of this year's faded planting, to weed the borders, and to start getting into the ground the bulbs that will provide the flowers for us to pick next spring. ...

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mostly dahlias

mostly dahlias

It is heaven to work in the garden just now, the lovely light making it feel like being on stage, the colours of the flowers glowing, the lines of the beds and borders gradually re-emerging as we finally have time to cut back and weed and tidy up.  By contrast to the stillness and calm of the flower garden, outside the walls there is much busyness.  Buzzards and red kites whirl...

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