...in gardens, plants and books
...in gardens, plants and books
I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to curate this exhibition at Sissinghurst. It is free to visitors of this world-famous garden and runs from 5 May until 21 October. Highlights include a beautiful suffrage banner embroidered by Gertrude Jekyll and one of Vita Sackville-West's own garden notes which, we believe, has never been publically displayed before.
We had a great evening celebrating the arrival of the Beth Chatto Archive at the Garden Museum. My favourite? Beth Chatto's Garden Notebook - definitely a book at bedtime when you can hear Beth's voice talking about her beloved plants
Beth Chatto has devoted her life to being a pioneer of species plants and ecological planting. Across the world, the idea of 'right plant, right place' can be traced back to her Gold-medal winning stands at Chelsea during the 1970s and '80s, her books, her nursery and, most particularly, her famous damp and dry gardens at Elmstead Market in Essex, created out of farmland from the 1960s. 'Her breathtaking garden ... should be a place of pilgrimage for all of us', believes Fergus Garrett. Fellow Garden Museum Archive donor John Brookes feels 'Beth's plants, her plantings and her writing have captivated not only me but the whole horticultural world.'
Catherine Horwood, Beth Chatto’s authorised biographer, will discuss different aspects of Chatto’s career, including her early influences from Sir Cedric Morris to flower arranging, her Chelsea years, her travels and long-lasting friendships including most famously with Christopher Lloyd, and the worldwide legacy of her gravel garden with its ecological heritage. She, along with Matthew Wilson, writer, horticulturist and designer, who was greatly influenced by Beth Chatto during his time as curator at RHS Hyde Hall in Essex, and Tim Richardson, garden historian and landscape critic, will pull out photographs and other ephemera from her collection which has been donated to the Archive to discuss the enduring legacy of Chatto's work.
For full details, timings and ticket prices, follow this link:
Here is a website and blog that's really fun, beautiful to look at and full of imaginative advice - take a look at www.womenwhofarm.com
This is what they say about themselves:
Imagine an organic farming revolution. One that builds soil rather than depletes it and saves seed rather than destroys it. Right now, millions of women are behind this work. They believe in tomorrow. And their work is changing the world.
Women Who Farm supports and celebrates those who do this necessary work. We bring resources, community, and shared story.
But they do more than that and I look forward to hearing how they plan to fund raise for farming in Syria and other war-torn countries. And it's about gardening as well: here's a link to a recent blog:
All well worth a read.
This looks like a terrific event and a great opportunity to visit the beautiful Roof Gardens in Kensington as well:
An all-female line-up of names from the forefront of the gardening world will discuss some of the challenges and opportunities for women in the industry. Just how tough is it to be a female Head Gardener of some of the country's most iconic gardens?
The talk will be followed by an open discussion and a chance for audience members to ask questions. Tickets cost £10 for members and £15 for non-members with all ticket proceeds going to The Roof Gardens’ nominated charity, Starlight Children’s Foundation*.
Follow this link to buy tickets for this event on Sunday 16 July 2017 from 9 am to 12 noon.
The panel will be chaired by Clare Foggett, Editor of The English Garden magazine, who will be joined by leading female figures including Andrea Brunsendorf, Beatrice Krehl and Pilar Medrano-Dell.
Andrea (below) was the first female Head Gardener appointed at London's Inner Temple Garden, and knows first-hand what it means to break the mould in a male-dominated industry. She trained in horticulture with a traditional German apprenticeship before working at botanic and ornamental gardens across the world including Kirstenbosch (South Africa), Longwood (USA) and Kew Gardens (UK).
Beatrice Krehl (below) was former Head Gardener at Waltham Place and is a self-employed gardening consultant. After working closely with iconic ‘Dutch Wave’ gardener Henk Gerritsen, she also has a long trajectory working in iconic gardens in Germany, Holland and the UK.
Pilar Medrano-Dell (below) is The Roof Gardens' very own Head Gardener. Pilar joined the team after holding positions at Wrest Park, Moggerhanger Park, and The Barcelona Botanic Garden. Her passion for sustainability and promoting the gardening industry amongst young people has contributed to various award successes for The Roof Gardens since she joined the team in 2015.
*Starlight grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes for seriously and terminally ill children.
The pavilion at Villa Boccanegra © Felice Piacenza
Fascinating article by Robin Lane Fox in the Financial Times this week - Italy's Villa Boccanegra and the ghost of Miss Willmott. Lots of stories about Ellen Willmott's extravagances - she filled it with plants and flowers but only spent a month a year there. We also hear about the saviour of the garden - Miss Willmott's third - Ursula Piacenza. On the Italian/French border just near Ventimiglia, it sounds as though Miss Willmott's ghost must be very happy.
East terrace with Agathis robusta © Felice Piacenza
Blowing my own trumpet this week because I've had great fun talking to Guardian gardening editor's Jane Perrone's weekly podcast On the Ledge on everything you've always wanted to know about houseplants. We're chatting about the history of houseplants in the home and especially the pots used. When did that start? You'll have to listen! Or for more historical background to plants in the home, see my book, Potted History.
Find us at On the Ledge Episode Six
Enormous congratulations to Xa Tollemache whose fabulous gardens at Helmingham Hall, Suffolk, are just about to be named 'Garden of the Year 2017' by the Historic Houses Association. This is a prestigious award, voted for by visitors, that goes to the very best garden open to the public by owners of some of the most beautiful house in Britain.
I visit Helmingham regularly as it is also home to one of the best plant fairs in East Anglia in aid of Plant Heritage. Run twice a year, the first in 2017 will be on 28 May from 10am to 4pm. Loads of specialist nurseries - it's impossible to come away empty-handed!
For more details on the award, follow this link:
Photographs © Catherine Horwood
I'm in the process of downsizing my garden from a third of an acre country plot to a roof terrace five floors up in central London. So needless to say, I leapt to read Carolyn Dunster's new book Urban Flowers. Creating abundance in a small city garden (Frances Lincoln)
Carolyn's both a florist and a designer of small gardens and her sense of style comes through on every page photographed by the brilliant Jason Ingram. I particularly loved her chapter 'Experimenting with colour' with inspiration suggestions from sulky purples and blues to zingy red and orange planting schemes.
I think this is a brilliant book for someone fairly new to gardening - an upsizer perhaps going from a flat to a garden rather than a downsizer like me who has years of plant-loving to cut down on. It's packed with loads of ideas for evaluating what space you've got and choosing a style to suit your surroundings and your lifestyle. There's even a final chapter on cutting, drying and harvesting flowers from your garden as one would expect given the popularity for 'growing your own' these days. Carolyn shows that it can be done even in the small city patch. Maybe, just maybe, I'll learned to see a small garden as a blessing after all!
To celebrate our new look website, I am delighted to offer readers of the Gardening Women blog a very special discount on the latest book by brilliant garden designer, Jinny Blom - The Thoughtful Gardener.
Jinny is one of my favourite designers. Her no-nonsense attitude belies the fact that she is incredibly sensitive to the surroundings she is working in. To me, her gardens never looked 'designed', they just look right in their place. Lots to learn from this long anticipated book.
Scroll down to find out how to get your discount!
'The most romantic, creative person in garden design I know,' Piet Oudolf.
In this book, Jinny shares her insight into the creative process she has developed while designing more than 250 gardens around the world.
Until 31 March 2017, you can order this book with a fabulous discount of 20 per cent. Go over to www.quartoknows.com and enter the code BLOM20 at checkout. Enjoy!