Wordless Wednesday..


Winner of Dahlias book by Naomi Slade

A true feast for the eyes! Thankyou for introducing this book to me, it’s on order!

Bramble Garden

Congratulations to June at The Cynical Gardener who has won my prize draw for a copy of Naomi Slade’s new book, Dahlias.

I wrote a review of the book Here.

I absolutely love the book, and find I’m dipping into it whenever I sit down and rest a moment in my potting shed armchair.

The book features mouth-watering photographs by Georgianna Lane. It’s easy to read and there are lots of hints and tips on getting the best out of your dahlias.

Who could resist these lovely, brightly-coloured single varieties.

Here’s some photos of my own dahlias in my cut flower patch. I’m looking forward to trying out some of the newer varieties highlighted in the book. I’m particularly keen to try the dark red and chocolate types, as well as the cheerful sounding “happy” series.

Some of mine have been grown from seed. They produce good size plants in…

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We did it!


It’s hard to believe its been a month since we opened our garden. It’s only now we are beginning to get back to normality, whatever that means!?

The week running up to opening was a mixture of baking, pruning, dead heading, mowing, painting, weeding and a little bit of panicking! Here are some pictures showing some of the above..


When the big day arrived we felt pretty much ready. It took a team of about 18 helpers over the two days, some of which brought cakes, (and some that couldn’t make it baked too!) Carrot, coffee, lemon and much more! The display and effort was incredible.

There were also some friends that helped with some weeding and sorting in the weeks before. As I sit here now, thinking about the amount of help we have received, it makes me feel very thankful and humble.. to the point of putting  a very big lump in my throat! We couldn’t have done it without their help and support.


We couldn’t have asked for better weather and it felt like the whole garden rose to the occasion! Everything flourished, performed and peaked together, it felt like someone above was watching over us with a smile.

Over the two days we welcomed 415 visitors and raised £2760

It’s an amazing feeling knowing this outcome is helping to raise lots of money for some wonderful charities under the National Garden Scheme.

It was lovely to see Jane Moore  our county Organiser and Maggie, who gave us her blue border that helped fill a large area that is named after her.

We were lucky enough to have a professional Photographer, Joe Wainwright take some photographs of or garden before we opened. We very much look forward to seeing them.


On the evening of our second and final day, we invited our friends and family that helped over the two days, (sadly not all could come!) to help us celebrate with some Champagne, an Indian takeaway and a game of croquet!



The following week we collected Amber, our new member to the family.. I have no doubt she will be very helpful in the garden!!


One week to go!

I still can’t quite believe, that a week from now we will have opened our garden for the third time!

You’d think we’d be pros at it by now, but somehow it never feels like that seven days before.. We make lots of lists and do all but what’s on them, then tell ourselves ‘it needed doing’. Most of the time it did.. I think!

Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been up to..


Tom finally finished the cobbling in the hall garden. Poor man, I don’t think he ever wants to see another cobble for a very long time! It does look amazing, and finishes everything off too.

We finished planting up the border by the house in the Hall garden too, using 3 clipped box balls to give some structure. Then filled the rest with all kinds of bits from all over the garden, including bits that had self seeded or split from clumps from elsewhere I the garden, along with bought plants and plants kindly given to me too. I’m very pleased with the results and look forward to watching it flourish over the coming years.

All pots in the house garden and beyond,have been emptied and refilled with summer plants. I will show you how they look in a few weeks.

We have also invested in some new pots, the Hydrangea Annabelle are now growing happily in them along with a climbing rose ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’ that in the ground and will cover the wall behind.


There was a yew hedge here up until last month.. that is now in the walled garden with two remaining just to the left of this picture that we will clip into topiary. Replacing the yew is now Lavender ‘Grosso’ I’m keeping with the blue and white theme in this part of the garden.


A little box clipping has been going on too.. including Toms balls!

The clematis has looked especially pretty this year!


I had some garden vouchers for Christmas from my mother-in-law, with them I bought 6 large pots of Paeonia ‘Dr Alexander Fleming’ back in April! Finally I planted them either side of the Magnolia ‘Limelight’ that is against the west wall, where the pillars are, inside the walled garden.


I think they are going to look magnificent here!

The Alliums that I planted in the autumn are all beginning to unfurl their magic and are looking stunning! I’m so pleased with them.

The Hesperis has been flowering it’s socks off too.. so much so I’ve cut a load for indoors..


Not quite sure of the smell, but the beauty and mass of this makes up for it..

Over the bank holiday weekend we took some time out to play croquet with our boys, needless to say I got thrashed and croquet several times by my pro. Playing husband!


It has to be said that ‘Maggie’s’ border is looking incredible this year, its all bulked out nicely and the Iris have been glorious too.


We have lots of moments when we stop, look, and feel immense happiness on how far we have come and how well we are progressing here..

This evening was one of those moments..   When that sense of achievement floods you with emotion.

And yes.. we stood right here and hugged one another, with smiles across our faces.

Here are the first of our roses to flower, along with my first rose flower posy of the year!


Before I sign off, I’m bursting to tell you about our soon to be, new addition to our family..


Meet Amber, HOW CUTE!! she is a working Retrever and we collect her the weekend after we open the garden.. beyond excited!

Now.. where’s that list?!

Hope you’re weekend has been a restful one x

The Joys of Spring..



   I think May has to be one of my favourite months of the year. It’s when the garden truly wakes up from its winter slumber. As if by magic, Mother Nature picks up the pace, and brings everything into the green. I look forward to waking up every day, seeing new plants emerging from the warming earth, watching trees change from brown to different hazes of greens, purples and limes, listening to the joyful birdsong that fills the air… The longer days with misty sunrises and warm hazy sunsets.

All the blossom in our garden and all around has been a wonderful sight. I’m sure we all have the odd place that has a tree covered in blossom outside that stands out and makes us smile.


It’s lovely how all my friends relate me to anything that flowers, and occasionally send me a picture of where they are, one friend was in New York last month, and couldn’t resist capturing a row of huge pink flowering Magnolias outside her sisters apartment. They were brightening up a row of buildings on a dull rainy day.. what a treat for her and me too!

Speaking of Magnolia.. Our pair of M. ‘Stellata’ inside the walled garden gave a sparkling display, despite the snow and late frosts.



I’ve particularly enjoyed the daffodil and tulip cutting beds inside the walled garden. It’s been wonderful filling the house with the joys of spring!

Since my last post, I have been finding myself flitting between different areas of the garden. Not like me, usually I work through a whole border, then move onto the next. Now I tend to work in places that need my attention because there are bulbs underneath or plants that will flower early that need cutting back and weeds clearing from beneath. Each year brings a new challenge..


While I am inside the walled garden, let me show you something we have done.

.. on April 8th, we moved some yew that I didn’t feel was in the right place. I took these pictures standing in the south east corner of the walled garden. The yew will provide a division, and give a clearer feel of what will be in the next few years, a garden room, where you will be able to sit and pause for a moment..

It’s getting to a stage here where our projects are not just about the planting, to give any sort if impact in such a big area requires structures, and the scale of those structures has to suit the space they are in. We have to be realistic about this and design a project that works for us in cash terms as well as practicality. I could write another blog, that is entirely on our hopes and dreams for the garden.. maybe I will one day..

Moving onto April 19th and our ‘Willow weaving workshop’ with Sarah from Twigtwisters..


This great day was organised by a lovely lady (Wendy) in my garden group. We were all had a choice of making different items out of willow that had been soaked for several days to make it pliable. The day started with an interesting introduction and demonstration from Sarah, then we all set about making our different items. There were some chickens, a pheasant, a sphere, a wigwam and a couple of hares (see mine below). Luckily the weather was on our side, and we were able to work outside in the warm sunshine inside the walled garden. It was a day we all thoroughly enjoyed with the bonus of taking home what we had made. Thankyou Sarah, such talent, please checkout her website, you’ll be blown away!

Here’s an update on our progress on the Hall garden project, on April 25th Tom set about working on the cobbled path that leads to the back door. Here’s a series of pictures that lead us to the end result worth being proud of!

This took him 5 days with just one corner left to do. Poor man is starting to loose the will! But what an achievement and a massive difference it has made to the whole area.


The fruit trees that have been trained into a circle are called Malus ‘Evereste’. It has to be said that their blossom this year has been incredible!

I have continued working through the tea garden and have finished (for now) planting up and edging the area where we park. With the help of my lovely friend Gabrielle, we made a good start on potting up my new Dahlias. I also received a delivery of 10 different varieties of Hellebores that I potted on, outside in the walled garden on a lovely sunny afternoon.

Before I go, here are some pictures of the garden taken in early May..