Happiness is a Garden

I love a good gardening book. Over the years I’ve read quite a lot, especially when I earned my living as a Garden Designer. When I needed to know all sorts of technical details learning from others who generously shared their knowledge in a book was brilliant for me. Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies and each year there are lots of new books to choose from. Many of them are very practical giving instructions about HOW TO tackle a particular task. I find it fascinating to read how others approach their garden. I’m also very interested in WHY gardens mean so much to some people.

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Wildlife in the Garden

Have you ever noticed how an everyday activity sometimes turns into a magical event? We live in a small village in the North West of England. We’re just on the edge of the village with our garden stretching out into the surrounding countryside. Apart from traffic passing through on the main street it’s a peaceful place. Just the way we like it. Everyday I make a point of walking to our local post box to send orders on their way to my lovely customers.

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How to Grow Ipomoea lobata

Ipomoea lobata ‘Exotic Love’.

I have to admit that for years the exotic appearance of this amazing plant deterred me from trying it. How can something so dramatic and tropical looking survive in our climate? Well it’s true that Ipomoea is native to hot South American countries such as Mexico and Brazil. It’s a perennial plant there flowering year after year, eventually growing to 5 metres / 16 feet tall. But in fact they do grow very well here too – but not quite so tall! We need to treat it as a Half Hardy Annual, sow it late then allow it to grow and flower in just one year. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it their prestigious Award of Garden Merit to confirm that Ipomoea is a reliable performer in UK gardens.

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Symphytotrichum ‘Little Carlow’

It’s been mild here again this month. Over the years I’ve got used to first frosts beginning during the first week of October. Temperatures have cooled a little it’s true but for some reason the cold snap hasn’t arrived. Indoors I’ve changed our lightweight summer bedding for toasty winter quilts but outdoors I’ve left my collection of tender scented geraniums on the deck where they are thriving. I will move them into the greenhouse at the first sign of frost but there’s no sign of it so far.

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Arlington Row in Bibury

Bibury is one of the most well known of all Cotswold villages. With rows of honey coloured stone cottages, a beautiful church, a nice hotel and good pubs it’s a lovely place to soak up the relaxed atmosphere and to enjoy a stroll and a meal if you’re in the area. There’s even a trout farm to visit and a wide shallow river full of fish and ducks runs through the village. It’s English through and through and quite gorgeous. In fact Bibury is often described as the most beautiful village in England.

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Twenty Minutes in the Garden

How to get things done in the garden…
Even if you don’t feel like it!

I’ve just had my coffee in the garden. It’s amazing out there today, lovely and warm with birds feeding and calling to each other and the incessant buzz of insects on the hunt for nectar and pollen. Sunlight shining through the leaves of the oak tree has turned them lime green. It feels like a summer day and spending just a few minutes outside in the sunshine makes me happy. There are signs of autumn too. In the hedgerow brambles are laden with plump blackberries and huge fat red hips are lined up along the whippy stems of wild roses.

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Autumn Colours

We have had the most fantastic Autumn here in Lancashire with stunning leaf colours and lovely mild days. It’s all changing now.
As temperatures start to fall the leaves will fall too. I love autumn and enjoy watching the seasonal changes. No hard frost here yet but it’s on the way I am sure. Until it arrives I am trying to make the most of this season outdoors before we go slip sliding into December and Christmas!

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