Category Archives: gardening

Bare trees, soft light and a glimpse of the coming year

A version of this piece about winter was first published in English Garden magazine, when I worked as a horticulturist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew  You can almost feel the earth tilting towards the sun as we approach the end of winter. … Continue reading

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Time, tree planting and commuting with birds: hymn to suburbia

This year I have lived a full half century. My children have grown up and left. For the first time in my life I’m living entirely on my own. It’s bloody lovely, this freedom, but I do find myself staring into space. A lot. And if I look back? Blimey, I’m thinking in decades, not in years. Continue reading

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Light, camera, action

Last day of October and there was so much going on outside. Though the nasturtium foliage has been shredded by the voracious cabbage white caterpillars, their flowers are still brilliant, bringing bees and hover flies to my door. Common carder … Continue reading

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Into the woods: early autumn in the fifth element

I’ve often thought of broadleaved woodland as the fifth element, somewhere between air and water. Continue reading

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Bee heaven, first days of autumn

Today Jane, Wyn and I walked the length of Kerridge Hill, a ridge of millstone grit that rises quite suddenly to 800 feet above sea level east of Macclesfield. It was sunny and calm, with swallows hunting over the stunted … Continue reading

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My personal cult – the Alpine Garden Society

There are two things going on in my cult: one, a dogged devotion to seeing mountain plants growing in the wild; two, a painstaking obsession with growing them at home. Continue reading

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