Garden Journal 12.10.21

It’s garden Journal time for me, so if you’ve found these words already, I hope you’ll stick around for another few minutes whilst I tell tales about my last two weeks in gardening. In this post I’ll be Feeling Autumn, I enjoy a Hidcote Booster, and I explain why my arms will be a touch achy for the next few weeks.

Feeling Autumn

I don’t know how you’re finding things, but when I stop to consider the autumn season, being in the garden has felt a little bit weird for a while now. Allowing for the vagaries of plants that do what they want, when they want, things still feel odd. Maybe it’s just the mild seasonal weather at the moment, but some flowers seem to be later than usual, some trees are keeping their colours hidden, and some perennials want to keep on going – at least in my garden.

A tired but persistent October cosmos flower…

Garden Journal 27.9.21

Hello and thanks for visiting my garden journal, a place for recording my gardening activity and tracking moments in gardens. This week I’m recognising a grand volunteer effort through raking the orchard, I’ve been corralling plants for growing at home, and have been soaking up some wonderful autumn light in observations.

Raking the Orchard


Gardening at work this summer, (Sulgrave Manor if you’re new to this blog,) has been something of a rollercoaster I have to say. Indeed, numerous factors seem to have combined to create a two steps forward one step back type of year – weather and Covid being the biggest of them for sure. Yet, I’ve been completely uplifted of late, and especially on our very successful and busy Heritage Open Day, by the growing visitor numbers and the many positive comments about how tidy and lovely the garden is.

The results in terms of garden presentation is in no short measure down to the regular attendance and dedication of the Sulgrave team – mostly volunteers, who’ve donated many years in some cases to the garden. Week in, week out, each individual arrives, giving up their valuable time to help us plant, prune and weed, and without them the garden would be but a slither of its excellent self.

Heaps of fun after a good deal of raking!

Garden Journal 21.8.21

Hello and welcome to my garden journal – a place for recording my gardening activity and tracking moments in gardens. This week (and especially last week) I breathe again through a garden visiting getaway where I’m wowed by the work of Sir John Vanbrugh, and I have a swift gardening observation for the moment.

Gardening Getaway


I count myself very lucky to have had the opportunity last week to getaway up to the northeast of England. On the whole it was time spent with family that was the most important aspect of the trip, but of course, there are always other benefits when a gardener gets to travel…

Box parterre Italianate style at Seaton Delaval Hall
Early 1950s Italianate garden at Seaton Delaval Hall

One important benefit Continue reading

Garden Journal 14.6.21

Hello and thanks for clicking the link to my garden journal. This week I’ve been potting-up, repotting in my home garden, and there’s a mention of a brief run out to Canons Ashby. Also, for my observation section this week I’ll be focussing on the longest day.

Gorgeous white lupin spires at Canons Ashby

Potting Up


I’ve written in recent weeks of spring flowers that have cheered us through a somewhat turbulent spring. Many of the plants I’m proud to say came about through my autumn efforts alongside the garden team at Sulgrave Manor. Time passes by quickly though, and so even before the spring flowers had reached their stride I was planning for their late-spring changeover.

My Gardeners’ World Video

I’m delighted to record that after watching BBC Gardeners’ World on my screens for what seems like an eternity, I finally made it onto the screen myself! Okay, it was a video I’d sent in about me and my garden but still – I’m very chuffed for my clip to have been selected, and I’ll be walking around with a rosy glow on my cheeks for the weekend at least!

At home, Spring 2021

Last Spring

I’ve written in my journal before about how the pandemic impacted my gardening world, in as much that whilst enduring the first lockdown I was fortunate to be able to continue working. I say fortunate because I live for working with, in and around gardens, and to think of having to stay indoors, or to have been restricted to a small space would likely, well, I can’t even begin to think.

Garden Journal 18.4.21

Hello and thanks for dropping in on my garden journal. This week I’ve my own update on Sulgrave Manor Gardening, an important Peat Free April message plus a little Home Gardening for the sarnie filling.

Sulgrave Manor Gardening


Writing in my garden journal last week I talked about the pre-opening rush that the garden team and I were going through to make sure all was looking good for the opening day on Wednesday. If you’re a gardener you’ll likely be very familiar with the thoughts and feelings that are very present in the run up to the big day.

Garden Journal 11.4.21

Well it has been quite a full month since I last posted to my garden journal, after taking a break for a while to take stock. I’m back now though and keen as ever to resume the weekly posting of my horticultural happenings to this journal, which is part of my Gardening Ways blog.

I suppose then that I’ve four weeks of shenanigans to account for, but whilst I’ve scanned back across the weeks and selected some memory jogging images, I’ll spare you from the general daily going’s on. Instead, and from my chosen picture, I’m going to skip across the month all spring lamb-like, if you can picture that!

Sulgrave Gardening

In my last journal entry I was still harping on about the “ongoing pruning” in the heritage orchard at Sulgrave Manor, which I’m glad to say is now all complete. In fact it’s more than complete, as some of the volunteers have thankfully returned to the fold, coming to my aid with a very thorough clean up of cut material – I had stacked it nicely of course!

Amongst the branches of an apple tree in a heritage orchard Up amongst the branches…

In addition to completing the orchard, which is now resplendent with thousands of daffodils and a few Continue reading

Journal 7.3.21

I’ve arrived at garden journal time this weekend perplexed as to how the week has flown by, although as always, it doesn’t take me long to work it out, what with switching between homeschooling and working. Seriously though, despite some full days it does seem to have been another week of maximum effort, modest achievement.

What I can say is that it’s been another fully and engaging week of work in my field of ‘gardening’. It’s seen me up and down ladders whilst pruning in a heritage orchard, arranging servicing for machinery and contacting volunteers, and there was even a little COSHH thrown in for good measure.

A little mulching on the go…

There was a session of mulching ornamental borders, sowing seeds and moving some heavy ornamental pots. Pruning tools were cleaned, sharpened and oiled, and a good deal of my present book was thoroughly enjoyed – The Tulip, by Anna Pavord. Last but not least, there was another fascinating webinar with the discerning historic landscape expert John Phibbs.

Journal 14.2.21

My journal is a day late this week following an enjoyable family focussed weekend – but what a week it’s been. Counting the days, I was relieved to have made it through to the close of Thursday when I could high-five myself for surviving another part week of home schooling – Friday of course being another normal work day, or at least what passes for normal these days.

My working week in gardening terms was a fairly swift one and was largely spent up ladders in a rather chilly orchard. Aside from this I do actually have to give thanks for the home schooling, which for a change ticked my creative box when we were tasked with the creation of a Haiku poem about winter – quite a treat to my mind!

After heading out for a short jog around the frost covered houses to thoroughly immerse ourselves in winter, we settled down to an all too swift session to warm up whilst playing with words. Our results in the task were pretty simple to be honest but it did create opportunity to spend time thinking and writing about nature – something that itself can’t be underrated just now, and I have to say I’ve become a little obsessed with the concept since!

Well, I’m sure you’ll agree that I have much to learn but for me, Haiku seems to offer a really creative way of capturing moments and atmospheres in nature, in time and in the garden; something I’m looking to record or practise in new ways – new ways to me at least. Forgive me for adding two this week within my images; I do hope they haven’t strayed too far off the traditional Haiku path!