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Showing posts from July, 2012

Installing the shepherd's hut

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Sometimes things happen which make you pinch yourself.  Having our shepherd's hut is a bit like that.  I can't quite believe that something that I have always loved but have always thought was the kind of thing that belonged to other people now belongs to me.


The idea has been germinating for a while.  When my father in law came to live with us we converted the room which had been my study into a bed-sitting room for him.  I need to be careful here because Ian's study is and always has been a four foot square porch which is crammed to overflowing and so cold in winter that he needs to wear sheepskin boots to sit at the computer!  But I did miss it.  There was no other sensible option for accommodating my father in law and now the room is in constant use as opposed to the couple of hours a day when I used to sit at the desk, working, blogging or reading because the light by the window and the view are both good.  So it is a good thing that the room is now always warm and us…

RHS Tatton Park

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I was about as unprepared for going to Tatton as you could be - no plant lists, no nurseries to look out for, no gardens on my list of must sees.  A big blur of family things had taken up all my time and thought and suddenly it was Tuesday and Michelle, Karen and Jane were arriving late afternoon and there were beds to be made and no food in the house.  The long awaited shepherd's hut was arriving the next day and the bit of my brain that had not been taken up with family stuff had been occupied making curtains and cushions.  I looked up and it was the day before we were going to Tatton.  Aaargh, time to engage.

I went to Tatton years ago, soon after it became an RHS venue.  I don't remember much about it.  I think there was mud.  The show gardens were very small.

On Wednesday  the forecast was for constant rain so we arrived with wellies and waterproofs.  The sun shone all day and my feet got hot.  I was going to show you a host of evocative photographs of the show but my gen…

Getting ready for the shepherd's hut

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A couple of months ago we decided to buy a shepherd's hut to sit in the corner of our field.  It is to be a refuge, a private place, a place to sit and read, a place to write.  We visited and talked to the makers and we are now only a week away from it being delivered. I am quietly very excited indeed.   It is being made for us by hutsnstuff,  a father and son business in Powys on the Welsh borders.  It should look something like this:


This is one of their photos and there are lots of others on their website and flickr page.   Our hut should be the same colour as this one with similar windows on either side.  Inside there will be a sofa which converts to a double bed as well as a wood burning stove so the hut can be used when it is cold.  We will be making or finding a little table and it will have a wicker chair and a little writing chair too.

So this week is the week of making curtains, covering mattresses, making cushions and preparing for the arrival of the hut and a grand ses…

Rain in summer

Rain, slow, soft rain.  Mist obscuring the valley, the ridge of Pen y Cloddiau vanished into solid grey.  Dense grey cloud behind the oak tree.  No sky, no view, no climbing hills.  A small enclosed world of rain and grey.

A blackbird sings from the roof of the bakehouse.  A bullfinch sits in the hawthorn hedge, its breast a startling rose pink flash against the green.  I walk out into the meadow. Fine soft heads of grasses bowed down with the rain brush my legs.  Roses drip petals and raindrops.  Foxgloves stand tall.  In the meadow poppies bend their brilliant heads under the weight of water.

The scent of honeysuckle rises up by the hedge and drowns me.  Just for a moment, I let go of the wish for sun and summer and lie back in the water, into a dream of grey and green.

A Visit from Anne Wareham

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Life is full of surprises.  On Wednesday I had a visit from Anne Wareham and her husband Charles Hawes.  I have known Anne virtually for a while.  I follow her on Twitter, read her website thinkingardens, and she reads my blog from time to time and occasionally comments.  I met her and Charles briefly at the Malvern show last year and I keep an eye out for her journalism.  We had a couple of email exchanges after I blogged about a recent visit to Beth Chatto's garden and she suggested that she would like to come up and see the garden.  So that was the first surprise.

My immediate reaction was to wonder if she was serious - Veddw is a great garden, my garden is hardly yet even a work in progress.  I am not a trained gardener.  I am not an artist.  I used to be an adviser on international tax and now I am a garden obsessive, partly I think to use up the energy which used to go into my work.  My second reaction was to be intrigued.  I wasn't sure why she was interested but I coul…