May 292015


I know I’ve talked about Bradford on Avon several times before, but I’m about to do it again. We had a wander around there last weekend, and the two rows of houses above the Newtown area, Tory and Middle Rank, were looking as gorgeous as ever. Their main gardens are across the footpath, but most houses have planting outside too. Everything seemed way ahead of my own garden, presumably because the houses face south and are in a sheltered spot. Christian’s garden there is tiny, but for a small moment I could see us living there, instead of at my house, enjoying the pleasant lack of wind. But what would we do without any gardening to do? I’m not sure I can imagine it…

It’s the Bradford on Avon Secret Gardens Festival on Sunday, and it is well worth a visit – there are clearly many green-fingered types in the town. I’m not sure if any gardens in Tory or Middle Rank are taking part, but you’ll see plenty if you just wander up there – and the view is spectacular, too.


Jun 032014


There are rich pickings for nosey garden bloggers in Bradford-on-Avon at the best of times, let alone when it’s the Bradford-on-Avon Secret Gardens festival. We had a jolly afternoon ogling at gardens large and small, many finding clever ways of dealing with the steep slopes that are a feature of this part of the world.

I really liked this unusual parterre in a front garden, planted with alliums, heuchera and sedums for a long season of interest. It was originally lined with box, but that had to be replaced with yew thanks to box blight. It will darken with age, making it look even more contemporary.

The Secret Gardens festival runs on four weekends and you can still catch the last two, on the last Sundays of June and July. The gardens vary each time, but they’re well worth a visit.



Apr 302014

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.