Sea thrift on a dry stone wall

Pendeen, Cornwall


Lavender in front garden


This is my front garden, a couple of metres square and planted by the previous owners. For a few weeks in July it looks like a pint-sized patch of Provence and is much remarked-upon. I love it.

Compared to this time last year, it has attracted very few bees – last year, dozens and dozens of them were buzzing all over it; this year, I’ve only spotted two or three at a time. I hope they’re simply getting a ready supply of nectar elsewhere, and it’s not a sign of bee decline.

At some point the lavender will have to go, as it’s getting a bit leggy in places. But I might just plant more – it’s incredibly wind tolerant (the wind howls up from the valley sometimes), and is neatly evergreen when it’s not in flower. It even manages to obscure my recycling crate.

Scented-leaf pelargonium

Belcombe Court, Wilts

Pelargoniums have one thing in common with succulents in that they don’t need much watering. I’m spending an inordinate amount of time watering at the moment, with a hose that behaves like a demented serpent, so anything that isn’t needy on the watering front is very welcome.

I’ve got several types – ‘Attar of Roses’, ‘Fragrans Variegatum’ and ‘Candy Flowers Dark Red’. Some are in my conservatory, and some are outside. The plants in the conservatory are much more impressive – they’re smothered with flowers. The ones outside are smaller, with fewer flowers, and a little rain-bashed.

Pergola in a back garden in Buckland Dinham, Somerset

Buckland Dinham, Somerset

Sweet pea and sunflower at the Holbourne Museum, Bath

Holbourne Museum, Bath

There are some stunning pots outside the Holbourne Museum in Bath at the moment. They’re huge and stuffed with all kinds of delights, including cerinthe, verbenas, sweet peas and sunflowers (I think they’re ‘Vanilla Ice‘). Amazingly, they seem to be supported by a single bamboo stake. Definitely inspiration for next year.

Roses at the Holbourne Museum, Bath

Holbourne Museum, Bath

At the Holbourne Museum the other day I was struck by this bed of roses. The tight pink buds were almost as attractive as the overblown flowers, and I liked the slightly chaotic look – a contrast to the clipped box surrounding the bed. I’ve no idea what variety this is, and would love to know.

Erigeron on a table at Belcombe Court, Wiltshire

Belcombe Court, Wiltshire

Climbing rose and nasturtium

Bradford on Avon



My love affair with succulents continues. I was happy with these little numbers in my conservatory even without their flowers, and then all of a sudden, they flowered. The one below has sprouted a stalk that’s about a foot long, from a tiny rosette. Another very similar-looking plant produced a completely different, star-shaped yellow flower.

I just love these little guys. As I’ve said before, the conditions in my conservatory are harsh – cold in winter and hot in summer. Many of the plants need watering every day at this time of year, but not so the succulents. Photographing them next to a watering can is a bit of a red herring, as they’re the ultimate drought-tolerant plant. They haven’t seen a drop of water for days. In fact I’ll confess that the plant below hasn’t been watered for months, hidden away at the bottom of a plant stand. I feel so guilty that I’m off to water it now.


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