Apr 302014
 
Bradford1

Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts

I love the look of this small garden – especially the contrast in leaf textures and forms, which are the first rule of good planting design. There’s a lot crammed into it, including a little grove of silver birch.

Some of the gardens of Bradford-on-Avon are open for a Secret Gardens festival this spring and summer. I’m not sure if this is one of them, but from what I’ve already seen, there will be a lot to inspire.

Apr 242014
 
The Walled Garden at Mells, Somerset

Mells, Somerset

I once interviewed the new owner of an established, respected and very popular garden, who told me he was planning on closing the garden’s award-winning teashop. For a moment my journalistic integrity got the better of me, and I told him he was mad. Tea and cake help bring people to a garden. They also attract people who aren’t interested in gardens, but who like tea and cake.

Which is probably why the number of tables and chairs dotted around the Walled Garden at Mells has increased since I was last there. It was quietly busy on a gloriously sunny Good Friday, but it still felt like a garden first and foremost. You’d be hard pushed to find a nicer spot for tea, cake or wood-fired pizza than this south-facing terrace overlooking rolling Somerset countryside.

Mells2

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Apr 182014
 
Pink house 2

Brook Green, west London

My favourite blossom is that of the Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum)*. You don’t see it much in this country, although if you’re lucky enough to be in Paris at this time of year, you’ll see it everywhere. This tree looks so pretty against the pink house – the owner says the blossom doesn’t last for long, but it’s beautiful while it lasts.

I loved the hanging basket in front of the window, dangling from one of the gnarled branches.

Pinkhouse

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Apr 062014
 
Bath

Bath

I have a large wild cherry in my garden that was smothered in blackfly when I moved in last summer – and I mean smothered. It looked very sorry for itself. I didn’t have high hopes for it come spring, but I’ve been surprised.

The tree is obscuring the area where I want to grow veg, so I pruned it to allow more sun to hit my future veg patch. The branches had tons of flower buds on them, so I brought them indoors and put them in a vase. There are no flowers outside yet, but indoors they’re flowering beautifully.