Playing with Plants

Playing with Plants

“We went off to the local Builder’s Merchant and ordered some scaffolding boards, and the internet provided us with some threaded rods and nuts.”

Reflections

Reflections

“I love it when it’s faded a little and I add a refresher dose. Gradually a darker inky black spreads across the pool, reviving and restoring the drama all over again.

Thoughts on Opening a Garden and being Criticised.

Thoughts on Opening a Garden and being Criticised.

We closed the garden this week, with great relief. It’s knackering opening it, but necessary since it helps pay for its development and maintenance. Sadly, someone had not enjoyed their visit – see above. This is on Google – if you google...
View from a Window

View from a Window

I gave myself a project of taking a picture every month from the same window. I thought it would be interesting for me to see the changes over a year all at once. Thought some of you might be interested too.. It’s a bit like that thing they used to have in the...
#mygardenrightnow

#mygardenrightnow

  Great idea! Lots of gardeners posting pictures of their gardens (right now) and themselves (or bits of themselves) in them. Irresistible, even though the real photographer here told me the light is all wrong. So here goes:        ...
New Conservatory

New Conservatory

In January some men arrived and in less than a day demolished our conservatory and put it in a skip.  It had been rotting and leaking, so it wasn’t totally dreadful to see it go, but the result looked like this.   And the next few months were all build. When it...
Bird Bath the Fourth

Bird Bath the Fourth

Trouble! You’d expect it really – that if you have builders in creating chaos and disorder that you also develop major plumbing problems (nothing like discovering a pool of water in the bathroom in the middle of the night..), electrical problems, knee...
Autumn splendour

Autumn splendour

We rather meanly only open in the summer. But I obsessively take photographs of the garden all year round. I wrote about it in the Telegraph. You will look in vain for plant names – unless you send me them, in which case I will add them. So I thought I might as...
Sitting

Sitting

We just had a short break at Dartington Hall. We had a great time, and not just because we went to see our good friends at Hill House Nursery (where amongst other good things, Charles had what he describes as the ‘best Victoria Sponge I have ever had‘)....
Bindweed, yes or no?

Bindweed, yes or no?

I went to a lot of trouble earlier this year, sticking canes in for bindweed to grow up. I had an evil plan involving plastic bags and POISON! Then somehow there was a lot to do. Or it was raining. Or it looked like a lot of effort…. The bindweed stayed. And...
Do we expect too much from open gardens?

Do we expect too much from open gardens?

This piece was recently published in Gardener’s World Magazine. Love to know what you think about that question… If you wonder why we’re not doing our bit for the NGS here’s the answer: Shocked, but not surprised....
Silent Spaces

Silent Spaces

For many years I’ve thought that gardens are wasted on gardeners. Not on all of us gardeners – but it is true that many gardeners visit gardens to look at plants (with a certain acquisitive eye…), have a chat with friends and family, nice day out.....
Superman at Veddw – cutting the Hornbeam Arch

Superman at Veddw – cutting the Hornbeam Arch

There’s got to be a better way. Permanent scaffolding inside the arch? Or would getting an extension for the tower be enough?? Jeff’s comment?  “A good work out and only one near death experience = result.” Relief all...
Being Difficult

Being Difficult

  We open normally every Sunday afternoon in June, July and August, and take visits in afternoons and evenings from parties of 10 or more from May to September, inclusive. So why, you may wonder, do we have a group visiting the garden today, in April? Well, basically...
Why our seats are pink

Why our seats are pink

When I first had our seats made at Veddw I had to work out what colour to paint them. I tried lots of colours and found pink kind of worked – but I thought it was weird. Until I realised that the gravel, which is from a local quarry, is pink when wet. And when...
Spades by Charles

Spades by Charles

A review of a Fiskars Spade by Charles Hawes One of the few “real” garden tasks that I undertake, is to occasionally divide my hostas. I say mine because although we have hostas in several places in the garden, the only ones I give any attention to are those in what...
Surprise!

Surprise!

Veddw has appeared on the shortlist of an award – for the Garden of the Year in the Countryfile magazine: You can vote here. Fat chance against Beth Chatto’s – but great to be in...
Anne at Hay Festival with Tim Richardson

Anne at Hay Festival with Tim Richardson

This is a very short post. Or a long one if you click and listen. I couldn’t resist giving you the chance to hear it, just having come across it. It’s a recording of Tim Richardson interviewing me at Hay Festival when The Bad Tempered Gardener had just...
Finished!

Finished!

  On to the final stages – Caitriona arrives. Here is a small sample of the work she did last time for us: So, work begins on this new project, from the bottom… and starts in red crayon – Then the carving begins..(tap tap tap tap…) Caitriona...
The Installation of The Stone.

The Installation of The Stone.

Bet you could hardly wait for this. For too long we looked at The Stone in the car park and wondered if it would ever find its way anywhere else. I attempted to contact landscapers (just their kind of thing, you’d think, wouldn’t you?) but no-one was even...
The Stone. The first part.

The Stone. The first part.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching our predecessors at the Veddw, especially the squatters.  They are the first actual inhabitants of our particular bit of land that we know about and were the builders of the turf and mud hut, which was followed by the cottage...
The Hampton Court Chop: stake out.

The Hampton Court Chop: stake out.

I hate staking plants. It looks ugly, especially early on in the year. And it’s hard work (always best avoided). So I have one or two tricks to save me the bother. One is stuffing plants so tight together that they are self supporting. This works well,...
A Sculpture Garden in the Wye Valley

A Sculpture Garden in the Wye Valley

  Yesterday we managed to wangle ourselves a cream tea, with ginger cake, with some good friends of ours, Elsa and Adrian Wood, at the Nurtons – home to their daughter, Gemma Wood’s Sculpture Garden. Not to be confused with Wyndcliffe Court Sculpture...
They didn’t ALL die!

They didn’t ALL die!

Some of you kind people will remember my distress last year when my euphorbias, the biggest joy (well, maybe) of Veddw in May, started dying last summer. I thought I’d lost the lot. See here. Then come springa few began to reappear. And now some of them are...
We Launch a Book!

We Launch a Book!

Well, you get asked to write a book, you write it, it gets published and the next thing is – you have a book launch, right? So we did. We launched ‘Outwitting Squirrels’  on the river Wye at Symmonds Yat. We had to begin by making a boat to launch it...
Sorted?

Sorted?

In 2012 Rory Stuart published ‘What Are Gardens For?’ and in it he offered a critique of Veddw. Amongst other things (get the book..) he said: ‘The avenue in the meadow should lead somewhere, perhaps through a gate or an arch into the shade of the...
Painful truths about Camellias

Painful truths about Camellias

It being the season, and garden writers needing to endlessly provide reading material, I recently read a piece in praise of camellias. Understandable – they are quite attractive flowers with a good shiny evergreen leaf. Hmm. And people go long distances to visit...
August at Veddw

August at Veddw

Someone, thinking of visiting, recently asked me what is in flower at Veddw in August. So, my apologies to all those of you who would like words here, and to all those who are spring focused and can’t bear to imagine August right now: here are a selection of...
Is winter interest interesting?

Is winter interest interesting?

The term ‘interest’ in relation to gardens has irritated me for years. Partly because the use of the word seems totally wrong and I’ve found it hard to say why. I think it’s actually because interest (apart from when applied to money) implies thinking, or curiosity –...
How do we define ‘gardeners’? by Anne Wareham

How do we define ‘gardeners’? by Anne Wareham

This piece was originally published in ‘The Garden’ in May 2013. I struggled for a long time to accurately define what I think I am (this is not an invitation to enlighten me, thanks…) and I think this nails it. For me, and presumably for many other...
Not all Glooom

Not all Glooom

Yes, I’ve been neglecting anyone who is kind enough to follow this blog. And right now I’m somewhat out of words, having been frantically book writing in every spare moment since June…words words words.. So, I’m cheating. Some pictures of Veddw...
Thinkingardens Supper

Thinkingardens Supper

My apologies for those who want words – this is a post principally for the interest of those who came to the thinkingardens supper at Veddw, to discuss beauty and gardens. And much else besides. And eat cake….drink a little… #   .. and there are no...
Interesting feedback.

Interesting feedback.

An Addition to the visit from Brockweir, Hewelsfield and St Briavels Garden Society’s feedback The group leader now points out to me that I only asked  about the people who didn’t appreciate the garden: the majority did like it. And she asked me to add a...
I speak. For the Herefordshire Horticultural Hub.

I speak. For the Herefordshire Horticultural Hub.

I understand there will be WINE – and it’s in the cause of the Herefordshire Horticultural Hub, so you can drink and feel very worthy if you come. It’ll be great! I’ll be being interviewed by Tristan Gregory. Topic: Are Gardens Art?...
Pride and falling…

Pride and falling…

I was dead chuffed about this sight in June: – the euphorbia looked wonderful for weeks. I boasted about it and showed off. So serves me right – the euphorbia got rust. And because I don’t just do the odd plant in amongst lots of other different...
Sitting

Sitting

  We just bought a new seat . And put it together. (both of us – would have been impossible alone – but I took the picture so you can’t see me slaving away.) We’ve always wanted a seat in the meadow, but there never seemed to be the right...
Gravel

Gravel

I remember reading, many years ago, that one of the changes the death of Vita Sackville-West brought to Sissinghurst was that the paths had to be paved. The increase in visitors and wear and tear on – grass? – created the necessity. And changed the garden...
Shadows

Shadows

Light is the magic in a garden. The most wonderful garden in the world can struggle to excite in rain and gloom. And spring and autumn do special light: because the sun is low, suddenly unexpected things are illuminated.  And you can get dramatic shadows. Shadows are...
Enter the Replacement

Enter the Replacement

Just in case you wondered: this is really only of interest to family and friends – or in the unlikely event that someone was totally gripped by the birdbath saga – it’s for them. It’s the post script to this account of the Big Bird Bath...
Hug a Slug by Anne Wareham

Hug a Slug by Anne Wareham

This piece was published in The Spectator on the 8th of March 2014 under the title ‘The War on Beauty’: Next week is ‘Hug a Slug’ week. Well, come on, you did believe it for a couple of seconds. We’ve all grown so used to the fog of humourless...
For Karen – a Walk in the Woods.

For Karen – a Walk in the Woods.

This is a special for my great friend Karen, (@wildelycreative ) who bivvies in this wood when she can, but it’s been ages now…(and with apologies to the real Walker.) This is the other side of that gate into the woods: There are not many flowers out yet....
Decay

Decay

Playing with a vase of anemones, over eight days…...
Digging damage.

Digging damage.

We need a landscaper with a little digger and much drainage work doing. This relentless rain is beginning to make our yews suffer. The only way you can kill a yew, besides ruthless attack, is making it sit in water. And that is just what this weather is doing, despite...
White Houses

White Houses

It seems absolutely the done thing to paint your house white. In the last few years other colours have made a small inroad indoors, but if you look round the countryside you’ll see that white for the exterior is still the thing. As if we’d just invented...
Here comes the Judge

Here comes the Judge

Judging the Garden Media Guild ‘Inspirational Book of the Year’  The word ‘inspirational’ gets barrowed around the garden world with great enthusiasm. It is rarely clear what it means, and it is rarely clear what the book, article, garden, blog post, plant...
It has to go.

It has to go.

I’ve been told often enough now. That tree has to go and major reworking done. Most notable of the commentators is  Rory Stuart in his book What are Gardens For?, who described the ‘formal avenue of top-worked Corylus colurna‘ which...
Just cut it down

Just cut it down

Half of gardening is putting things in. Things then tend to grow themselves. Then we cut them down. Very simple, really, for a whole industry of advice giving. I have now been gardening at Veddw for over 25 years, so I think I can have confidence that what we do...
Ladders

Ladders

I don’t advertise anything here except Veddw and my excellent Christmassy -present – book, The Bad Tempered Gardener, which are possibly excusable. Nor do I, in spite of endless tedious requests, sneak in little mentions of products under the guise of...
Why Highgrove?

Why Highgrove?

OK. No names – right? Because the garden world is not robust enough for people to express their opinions openly and I don’t want to upset people more than I already have. But this was illuminating to me and so it may be to you. I was at a social event with garden...
How does it happen?

How does it happen?

above: The Cornfield Garden, Veddw Many years ago I designed and created the Grasses Parterre at Veddw. By which I mean I covered a small hillside with a design of hedges taken from the local Tithe Map of 1848 and then, with great difficulty, tears and expense, filled...
The Reveal

The Reveal

No, this has not become bad reality tv. This is gardening in the raw. Least it feels like that. This is one time of year when hard work in the garden is unavoidable. The Crescent Border finishes the great Campanula lactiflora and Epilobium ‘Stahl Rose’...
Throw the Hoe

Throw the Hoe

I’ve never used a hoe. I bought one originally, thinking it was sort of necessary, a gardener’s necessity. Since when it has just taken up space in the potting shed, like the equally useless riddle. It’s no good mulching and then trying to hoe in the mulch – and...
Wild gardening, Veddw style.

Wild gardening, Veddw style.

At this time of year I make a point of getting away to see what other people are doing in their gardens and it always prompts a great deal of thinking. One thing I got preoccupied with this year was tidiness and the wild. I cheerfully say to visiting coach parties...
If you tell a lie big enough…by Anne Wareham

If you tell a lie big enough…by Anne Wareham

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” – Paul Joseph Goebbels This piece was originally published in the Spectator, 29 October 2011 as The Emperor’s New Weeds. I’m republishing it here because...
The bars of a prison

The bars of a prison

There’s a convention in the cultural world that people shouldn’t respond to criticism of their work. That no doubt had its merits once, but the world is livening up and dialogue is increasing everywhere as a result of the web. For the garden world this should,...
Weeds – what’s weeds?

Weeds – what’s weeds?

Weeds attract repetitive garden articles, as useful as those about slugs. So I’ll try and spare you the cliches and report my current thinking. A visitor yesterday took me to see the flower of ground elder, thinking it was cow parsley. No difference as far as he...
Using a matrix

Using a matrix

A matrix is  ” A situation or surrounding substance within which something else originates, develops, or is contained”. That’s one, above. Now I know that the usual way of planting in the uk is to buy a plant, wander round with it in its pot, looking...
Is it worth removing these flowers?

Is it worth removing these flowers?

Just how important is detail in the garden – or, at what point does it begin to matter?? The planting in the front garden at Veddw at this time of year has quite bold patches of telling foliage and flower. The effect is kind of clean.. But then the variegated...
Propagating without trying

Propagating without trying

  In the conservatory at Veddw we have a display of succulents, which we love and other people seem to, too. Makes for visitor entertainment when they are sheltering from the pouring rain. Personally, I like them better when they’re not flowering. Anne’s...
Good things

Good things

After writing about destruction, time to write about some mending. Some people will remember the removal of the box balls from the front garden. Now Jeff has made created a new front garden for us (ish – the plants are all the same..) This was no small task, as...
Death and snow damage.

Death and snow damage.

Veddw may not be an over gardened zone, but it does make demands. Last year three full grown trees – cotoneasters – died and had to be removed. A huge job and many thanks to Jeff for doing all that work. That disaster was then followed by heavy snow...
What Are Gardens For? plus shameless self promotion..

What Are Gardens For? plus shameless self promotion..

I’m sorry to begin another post with a disagreement with a much respected colleague, (see also) but here I go again. And it is also one of the joys of blogging that I can. Once we had to struggle to get a voice, now we can take one… I was just reading the...
Weeding

Weeding

I did some hand weeding the other day. I know. I know. First time since never…. All the better to learn something then. And I did – see if you agree. It was the creeping buttercup curse. I used to think I would never get on top of this. I have had colour...
Everything In The Garden Is Lovely by Alasdair Aston

Everything In The Garden Is Lovely by Alasdair Aston

Sometimes I get really fed up of ‘lovely gardens’ and all the other lovelies…and then I remember this poem… Everything In The Garden Is Lovely by Alasdair Aston Even the fat slug That drags its belly nightly Over dank paving And into the heart...
Taking the pictures….

Taking the pictures….

I love it when Charles works on Veddw: his pictures are so much better than mine. It’s like keeping the garden, saving its best bits: he only does best bits. Professional photographers aren’t interested in the bits that don’t work. They don’t...
The Great Slug Scare

The Great Slug Scare

Monty Don started it apparently, suggesting everyone hunts around, under and in their pots and seed trays to find slugs. Yuk. And then, presumably, squish them..I didn’t see it. The thrills I miss. But I didn’t miss an article online telling us the slug is...
Drought or Drown – what not to plant?

Drought or Drown – what not to plant?

Noel Kingsbury has just published a piece in the Telegraph online, wonderfully identified in the link as ‘Middle Column Puff’ , about rainier gardening. It’s about gardening in the New Wet and follows his previous, recent piece about how we still...
What NOT to do in your garden in April

What NOT to do in your garden in April

They tell you : The arrival of spring can mean fast growth. Love this, as I see daffodils shivering in the east wind and refusing to open…. In sunny weather, temperatures can rise sharply in greenhouses and cold frames. To prevent damage to seedlings, make sure your...
What NOT to do in your garden this week, in the snow.

What NOT to do in your garden this week, in the snow.

Mow the lawn ( yes…) Mow your lawn now and you’ll enjoy a greener, denser and harder-wearing patch throughout the summer. Whether you want a bowling-green lawn or just a bit of grass for the kids to play on, regular mowing will improve the appearance of...
Why do I like a mixed vase of tulips?

Why do I like a mixed vase of tulips?

  I hate the look of a mixed hanging basket or jumble of annuals, even a jumble of tulips.. So why did I buy a mixed bunch of tulips? I’m not sure. Maybe the colours just work together? Or at least better than the Bodnant ones? Bright yellow and pale...
What NOT to do in your garden in March

What NOT to do in your garden in March

Start chitting tubers of seed potatoes. Have you ever tried to stop a potato sprouting? (ie chitting) If anyone can tell me how to stop them I’d be very grateful. You do not, it seems to me, need to lay them carefully in single layers in trays in a cool light frost...
Institutional Gardens – are they all awful?

Institutional Gardens – are they all awful?

Postscript to this piece We just revisited Plas Brondanw (May 2014) and found it transformed. The changes have been sorted and the renovations as successful now as they could be. Wish they would lose the labels and the inappropriate roses but otherwise it’s now...
A Very Bad Day

A Very Bad Day

It’s snowing and I’m feeling heartbroken. And Jeff, our gardener,( he comes one day a week and is indispensable – see sidebar.) is out there, in the snow, working so hard. Digging up the box balls in our front garden. What to say? We’ve been putting off this...
What NOT to do in January

What NOT to do in January

They say (it’s all true, promise you!) :-  Recycle your Christmas tree by shredding it for mulch. Yey! Drive the neighbours mad with the racket!! The noise any decent sized shredder  makes is excruciating. However, the jamming can be a nightmare and the...
Not Snowdrops Again

Not Snowdrops Again

Ok, I may hate gardening, but the slightest glow of winter sunshine draws me irresistibly outside. The sun is lost to this garden for a few weeks in the winter, because we are sheltered by a high ridge to the South.  When the sun at last returns to the garden it can...
Garden visiting.

Garden visiting.

Thanks to our wonderful motorway system, overuse of which I do, of course, utterly deplore, we happily travel three hundred miles in a day from Veddw to visit gardens. Which means I’ve now seen an awful lot. (You can read that both ways.) A long time ago we used...
An activity with no results?

An activity with no results?

I’ve just been wandering round the discovery engine sites. StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit – that sort of thing. It is a new term to me too, but they are a kind of filter to web articles you might be interested in. Like this one. In order to focus your...
What not to do in your garden in November

What not to do in your garden in November

A new feature for the lazy gardener. This month a response to the (rather desperate, it seems to me) Mirror. ____________________________ Apply a bulky organic mulch around the base of trees, shrubs and climbers to keep weeds down and the root area moist should...
Opening for the NGS: shocked, but not surprised.

Opening for the NGS: shocked, but not surprised.

“..I’ve been to open gardens where I had to go round twice to make it seem I wasn’t leaving too quickly (and even then five minutes was too long)..” John Grimshaw in The Garden June 2016. Those people who know that we opened for the NGS for...
Garden light.

Garden light.

I’m after beauty. It’s why I made the garden. But it really needs light. Wet dulls it down, drags it down, and just now should be the very best time of year for the beauty light brings. In 2010 I wrote this about early autumn sunshine on the yellowing...
Reconnoitring Veddw

Reconnoitring Veddw

A genuine request for information. I’m closing the garden this week – our last coach party is on Friday. I find keeping the garden looking as good as possible through May to September quite tough and end up exhausted at this time of year, in desperate need...
The way to get things done in the garden

The way to get things done in the garden

  The way to get things done in the garden is to go out there intending to do something else. So I went out yesterday all girded up to plant the 30 odd plants that were all sitting there demanding to be planted. For some reason the other plants that had been dug up...
Worth the trouble?

Worth the trouble?

In the kind of weather we’ve been having it is impossible to keep a garden immaculate. And, besides, there will always be a time when something is past its best or has just been cut down or replanted. That’s the nature of the beast. But there are other...
A miserable summer (so far)

A miserable summer (so far)

It really has felt like a continual nightmare. There are  just the odd moments which are like the brief waking up from a nightmare, when you realise it’s not real, before getting dragged back down into the nightmare’s pit. I mean – this summer in the...
The Sacred Objects of Gardening

The Sacred Objects of Gardening

It’s strange how some garden implements have acquired iconic status – and perhaps inexplicable.  When I first started gardening I ‘invested’ in a Hawes watering can – not because that is my husband’s name but because they had such a...
Did we get this right?

Did we get this right?

  This is the before picture – with a tentative cut where we thought we might do it. (thanks Jeff!) The block on the left had always seemed too – well, blocky. Heavy and out of scale. So, much discussion and contemplating. Today Charles went and did it.  ...
The dubious worth of garden writers’ opinions.

The dubious worth of garden writers’ opinions.

Stephen Lacey was a bit of an idiot to put the Laskett in his recent Telegraph piece about the best garden makers. See these opinions elsewhere. I’m sorry to be exampling the Laskett again – it’s simply that there are not many gardens that have been...
Cleavers

Cleavers

I do wonder as I’m pulling out streamers of cleavers ( Cleavers, Clivers, Goosegrass, Stickywilly, Stickywillow, Stickyjack, Stickyleaf, Catchweed, Robin-run-the-hedge, Coachweed, Bedstraw) which break off as I pull – would I do better to be patient, let...
Fashion or taste?

Fashion or taste?

Yesterday a garden visitor asked me what I was intending to cover my black pergola with. I felt mildly shocked – I love it just as it is. He seemed equally shocked that I would permit unadorned black wood in my garden. I wondered why he picked on that? However,...
Anne Wareham’s Garden Blog

Anne Wareham’s Garden Blog

All right – I have given in and here is my garden blog. I keep wanting to write shorter pieces than could find a home anywhere in the printed media, so it does in the end seem obvious.. And, as someone pointed out recently – it’s a form of social media. A conversation...
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