There’s nothing like a project to kick-start the New Year. My garage, built 10 years ago by my younger son Max to house his beloved scratch-built beach buggy, and then taken over by his brother Jacques to pimp up his Audi TT, is suddenly empty.
Everyone has a gardening lover in their life, and the tools they use can range from the most expensive secateurs to the simplest pot.
Community gardens have become an inspiring sign of local unity in contemporary Britain, bringing people together with a common cause that is good for the environment and good for the health of the volunteers involved in the scheme.
Been a bit of a damp squib, October. Seemingly relentless rain marking a premature end to many of late summer’s offerings, among them my white window box cosmos, which started the month off quite blowsy and bright and is now something of a straggle.
When will the houseplant craze end? It’s a question that’s been bubbling around for the past few years – and earlier this year, I read something that felt prescient.
Behind most imposing rows of grand houses in London’s smarter postcodes, you’ll find something far more endearing: a mews. Cobbled and dinky, these former stables and servants’ lodgings now (usually) house millionaires of their own, but that doesn’t stop me taking an idle wander down them most weeks. As a container gardener, I never fail to find inspiration from the pavement-bound landscaping that crops up outside the front doors.
Healthy soil leads to healthy veg and, as we swing into autumn, it’s time to enrich your plot for 2020. Adding organic matter soon – compost or well-rotted manure – gives friendly soil organisms time to work their magic and incorporate the good stuff over the winter.
I know it might sound ridiculous, but it was the Harvest Moon and – bear with me – a gong bath that made me do it. I was acknowledging the former in the midst of the latter (a process of lying on a yoga mat while listening to a stranger banging a gong; it’s meditative) when I realised that I’d not sown much this year to reap.
Hidden in the blissful setting of the Blackdown Hills, South Wood Farm is a garden that exemplifies how contemporary design can be brilliantly harmonious with the English country garden idyll. Designed by Arne Maynard around the 17th-century thatched farmhouse, this is quite simply a garden not to be missed, not least for its welcoming courtyard and mouthwatering kitchen gardens; the overall sense of place is unforgettable. All the details, from the immaculate knot garden to the various hard surfaces of gravel, cobbles and steps, are meticulous; add in the peacefulness of early autumn and you are in for a treat.
If you love gardens and you're in need of some inspiration, here's our guide to the big gardening events and flower shows happening in the UK this season.
Christmas wouldn't quite be the same without the aesthetic that comes along with it. Sparkling lights, Christmas trees and red, green and gold baubles.
As January beckons and the festive season draws to a close, children across the land will soon be removing the angel atop their tree, and parcelling up the decorations for next year. One by one, our much-beloved Christmas trees will be left out in the cold to await their fate. This sorry sight of branches protruding from wheelie bins and limp, lacklustre trees on pavements is enough to bring a tear to one’s eye.