Tag Archives: Gardens

Zoological Gardens – flora and fauna side by side

Today is the last day of the A to Z challenge and the final instalment of my series on the history of gardens. I’m starting this post by looking at menageries. Now hang on as I guide you to the reason why it’s my Z post. ‘Menagerie’ was used in 17th century France to refer […]

Sissinghurst Castle Gardens and Vita Sackville-West

Sissinghurst is probably one of the most famous gardens in England and forever linked with the prolific writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson. How did it all begin? Sissinghurst in Kent started out life as a Saxon pig farm – Saxonhurst. Hurst means woodland in Saxon. During Tudor times a fine manor house […]

Topiary – the art of the tree barber

We’re accustomed to seeing art in the form of sculptured stone or clay, even ice, but there is another, which is cheaper, and offers longevity if maintained correctly, and often forgotten – topiary – the art of shaping shrubs and hedges. Topiary dates back to classical antiquity, and supposedly invented by a friend of Emperor […]

Royal Horticultural Society – the home of flower shows

London is littered with royal societies – about thirty of them. The oldest is the Royal Society founded in 1663. The full name is the Royal Society of London for Improving Nature Knowledge. It’s royal because Charles II gave the society a royal charter written on vellum. (Charters and patronage are administered by the Privy […]

Inverewe and Inveresk, a tale of two Scottish Gardens

In 1862 Osgood Mackenzie started a garden from scratch on barren land. Nothing too remarkable about that. Except, the 850 hectare estate is in the Scottish Highlands, an area not exactly renown for fair weather. Osgood’s mum bought him the Inverewe estate. Very nice of her, but what about a garden? Shouldn’t all big estates […]

Heligan – lost then found

Years ago, as a young child, my family stayed in a converted barn on a farm in Lancashire. The farm is part of a large estate that included a vast wooded area. Exploring the undergrowth, we discovered a lost garden with sweeping stone steps, a lake and archways of rhododendrons. There’s something truly magical, and […]

Fish, for gardening.

In 1999 a couple visited a country manor house with the view to buying the property. They arrived in the dark and never saw the garden. They failed to appreciate the importance of the garden or have any knowledge of its creator Margery Fish. Having purchased the house, they stepped up, took a horticultural course, […]

Coastal gardens befitting an island

I live on an island. I doubt that anyone living in Great Britain is more than 3 hours drive from the coast. Those wind swept coasts face all the compass points, from the arctic Highlands of Scotland to the warmer seas of the south west, the estuaries and white cliffs of the east. Dotted around […]

Arboretum – exclusively for the trees

It’s that time of year again when my blog bursts back into life after months of neglect. It’s the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge, a worldwide event that encourages bloggers to post daily using a letter of the alphabet as their prompt. Themes are optional, but as in previous years, I like to keep […]

Drum roll… get your pitchforks and hoes ready!

For the fourth consecutive year I’ve entered my blog into the annual A-Z blogging challenge.  From the 1st April to the end of the month, I shall blog each day (except Sundays) using each letter of the alphabet to represent my posts. Themes aren’t compulsory, but I like to use them to help focus my […]

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