20 October, 2020

I Apologise for my blogs going wrong, and I am going to have another go as it is a new i pad and its settings are all over the place.

Here I am back in London, and having another attempt not only to write but to put some pictures on. We have improved Pettifers a lot because not only we had the time but the vision. We could not go to Corfu until just now as it took me quite some time to recover, from a dislocated hip. We have been lucky to have Polly every day,

We have planted some interesting bulbs. Polly gave me some beautiful blue crocuses which we have planted in the beds, they do not seem to do well in the grass. It is meant to be the bluest blue there is. We have some pink camassias in the autumn border, very expensive I can tell you . I am giving my friend Philip Astley Jones about 600 tulips that we have been growing on for 3 years, and have now done a different colour combination, Maybe better, and three years is enough for any single idea.

Clive told me that he was on the radio with Alan Titchmarsh a week ago and was asked by him which was his favourite garden. He said me, and needless to say I was really pleased. We have just got back from 2 weeks in Corfu. I have finally got the hang of it after sixteen years, and it is to adapt the olive trees to the landscape. Opening up the the sea, sky, and mountains by pruning the olive trees. It is difficult there, as three or four months there is no rain, and not many plants thrive naturally there. We have not got a watering system and we have Jiannis Lampros plus someone who swarms up the olive trees with a cigarette in his mouth. Jiannis looks after 30 gardens. Now for the first time James and I can sit up in bed and see the sea, the sky, and Albania. Paradise. The main guest bedroom has the same effect. I wonder why we took so long to see it, We have built about fifteen stone walls going up the drive with stone that was lying around., It gives plenty of structure on the way up the drive. It has been done by

Dmitris who has made a very skilful job of it. At the moment we are taking out plants that do not work for us. Three box balls, all which seem to have got box disease, they look terrible. The orange trees do not fruit and are tiny. Some of our lemon trees are good. James has pruned them properly for the first time. Cypresses seem to shoot away and are reliable. Quince and Persimmon are trustworthy. but the Pomegranate never flower, I fear they are partially in the shade. called garden which is 5 acres. Now we are taking out things that do not work for us, for example 3 box balls which look as if they have got box blight. Some things do well and we are better to concentrate on those. Cypresses and Quince, and Persimmon. For example Pomegranate never flower, maybe they are in the shade,

28th July, 2020, the best I have ever seen it

Is it the clear skies, the weather, or the attention to detail? We have done a new stone door out of the drawing room, It is nearly finished, and will be done at the end of this week. This week we are having a few visitors, including the head gardener of Bressingham gardens. We had two hardy plants members who knew everything needless to say, I like the Hardy Planters! The best is the par terre, the colours and the dahlias, a few new ones. I am going to change it for next year and plant some more agapanthus round the edge, I seem to have discovered some very special ones this year, Alan Street from Avon Bulbs, the darkest blue you have ever seen and not too big. Indigo Chimes is amazing, Similar. The Iris Rhapsody in Blue is getting the push. It is too scrappy and short flowering, Arabella Lennox Boyd came to see us a couple of weeks ago, it was like a visit from the Queen, James was made to weed, very unusual. I think I picked up quite a few tips! I am half way through my hip healing, I find my clothes situation tricky, and very soon I am going to have to go to my London hairdresser! An attempt at trimming it myself has been an unmitigated failure!

2 June, 2020, A Spring that goes on and on

Being in the middle of a lock down is not so bad when you have cloudless skies and endless sun. Because of the lack of airplanes and cars everything is pencil sharp, in fact you have never seen such beauty. I wonder how different everything will be when this changes.. We are all becoming used to watering, and brown lawns. I prefer watering with full cans than sprinkling, The roses started flowering a lot earlier than usual, but they all look very healthy, and the colours are lovely. We have a new rose called Keith Vaughan which is very pretty, exceptional in fact, and is going to go up the back of the house, This flowers twice, which is what almost all of my roses do. This is not a David Austin for a change.

We have gone through the Allium period, Purple Sensation, Mount Everest, Globemaster, and at the moment are engaged in pulling them out as I always feel they look funereal when they are going over. There is a later Allium called Firmanent, which flowers in June and is darker, A rather pretty little one is called Unifolium, soft pink and more delicate. Thomas and Nicholas are going to come and see us next week for the day, with Georgia, Thomas’s girlfriend. I am so looking forward to it. I miss the family a lot, and hope we will see Dominic and Hetty soon, with their burgeoning family. Their latest addition is Phoebe, aged one, already a temptress.

All the beds are filling up quite fast, and some of the colour schemes are pleasing. The Cayeux Irises are very tempting and a couple more are arriving in June, and I have to make up my mind whether to indulge n any more. The new planting in the front garden I am pleased with, It is James’ responsibility, and Malus Everest is springing out in every direction, The planting is similar to the far end, which gives a sense of continuity. We went to have a swim with my friend Philip Astley Jones, not too cold but perfect. It reminds me of our trip to Jaipur a few years ago because there is an Indian pavilion hung with Indian fabrics and with Indian marble furniture,