Sep 292011

Hatfield House

I can’t read maps and now I know where I get it from: my mum. She’s kept this under wraps until now as my dad does all the navigating in our house and actually asks for maps for Christmas. If he ever doesn’t know where he’s going, he pretends he does.

Mum’s cover was blown on Sunday, though, when she and I were left to our own devices at the Henry Moore exhibition at Hatfield House. My Dad had dropped us off, having taken an unusual route through a housing estate about which he chose to make no comment.

The various sculptures were dotted around the garden and woodland, and a handy map showed where they were. Most of them were called something along the lines of ‘Figure, Reclining’ and they did all look like, well, figures reclining.

Then we arrived at a sculpture that was we were expecting to be called ‘Torso’ but was indisputably a ‘Mother and Child’. And that’s when we realised that something was amiss.

Turns out we’d oriented ourselves wrongly from the off, mistaking the huge (and unmissable) knot garden on the map for a tiny fountain in a garden room. But never mind. It was great to get up close and personal with the sculptures, which looked very much at home in their temporary setting.

Jan 012011

St Albans

I nearly broke my first New Year resolution within hours of waking up. I was supposed to be starting this blog – a year of documenting inspiring planting ideas or gorgeous gardens wherever I happen to be. But 1) I had a hangover. 2) The light levels were extremely low. 3) It was raining. 4) I had a heavy bag with me. 5) I wanted to lie on the sofa.

I didn’t feel like wandering around a strange area of London looking for horticultural inspiration. And I thought… maybe I can just start this blog tomorrow! No one will be reading it after all…

Walking home from the station, though, I tried to look out for something worth photographing. There wasn’t much. All of my favourite gardens looked distinctly downbeat and even a usually lovely knot garden was littered with uncollected recycling bins.

But then I saw this little window box, hanging somewhat oddly from a picket fence and flanked by recycling boxes, a wheelie bin and a pebbledash wall. The sempervivums have survived the snow and wet and are positively glowing on this greyest of January days.

Phew. Resolutions intact so far! Now where did I put the alka seltzer…