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Showing posts from March, 2020

Write Away and #Springnaturediary: What a difference a year makes

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Last year I took part in the first #springnaturediary, an Arts and Humanities Research Council project which is also taking contributions this year. I'm chuffed last year's diary made the final cut and can be read as part of an illustrated booklet.

Now the world has changed for us all and it's useful to mark these strange times with another entry for this year's diary. Read on and you'll see everything has changed for me in another significant way. NAH had a heart attack on our wedding anniversary in early March and against the background of the looming Coronavirus pandemic - declared as such the day after on my birthday - I wanted to record a moment in our increasingly shrinking world.

Thankfully NAH's home now and started on the slow road to recovery. It was obvious the hospital was beginning to make preparations for the pandemic whilst he was there. All that can't be squeezed into a 150 word entry which focuses on the vernal equinox, but there is a snip…

Weekend Wandering: a new wildflower on the block

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Oh how the world has changed in what seems like the twinkling of an eye. We're now confined to home here in the UK, let out just once a day for exercise. I have a goal to #walk1000miles this year, which is proving more of a challenge now walks need to start from my own front door.

I've devised a 3.3 mile circular route which will allow me to achieve my goal if I walk it every day... and just as I was getting a bit tired of it on Wednesday, up pops a new wildflower in a quite unlikely place in the shape of the white form of the sweet violet, Viola odorata. Have a look at the link for some delightful stories associated with this wildflower.

I found it just outside the entrance of one of the local secondary schools just up the hill from where I live. There's a narrow stretch of grass there by the tarmac path which is currently bejewelled with lesser celandine and a couple of clumps of my new discovery. As the school is built on the site of the former Hardenhuish estate, and …

Next Stop on the Blog Tour: Diary of a Modern Country Gardener

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I'm delighted to be the next stop on the blog tour of Tamsin Westhorpe's new book, Diary of a Modern Country Gardener. I have to declare an interest here: I know Tamsin well and I've visited the garden in question - Stockton Bury Gardens in Herefordshire - twice, but don't worry dear reader, my thoughts on Tamsin's wonderfully warm and witty diary would still be the same if I didn't know her or the garden from Adam.

Designers often talk about finding the sense of place in their designs. Stockton Bury Gardens is firmly rooted in its farming landscape which has been in the stewardship of the family for 5 generations. You get a sense of both over her gardening year which starts in February. She isn't afraid of telling a warts and all story and her personality and sense of humour are woven into every page. Once you've stopped chuckling at her tales, you'll find yourself inspired to get out there and garden, even if it means getting caked in mud, or you…

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day: We may think...

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What wise words these are! It feels like it hasn't stopped raining since September, so two whole afternoons of sunshine this week have provided a much needed pick-me-up.

The ground is far too wet to do much in the way of gardening, though everywhere there are signs nature is quietly getting on with the job of bringing in spring, thank goodness. Actually downing tools for a while and just appreciating what's growing around me has been just as beneficial to my mood as getting down in the soil and preparing the garden for the coming season.

I once didn't care much for Hellebores; I thought them a gloomy, down in the dumps kind of plant, but now I appreciate the hope they bring to the new year. In the right place they flower for weeks and they don't need much looking after. I've guerrilla gardened a few in the woods on the public land next door: they were such tiny thimbles when I planted them in the autumn, and a quick census a couple of days ago shows at least 50% o…