Discovering a new local gem at Painshill Park

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I think so often we're guilty of not fully exploring the amazing places that lie on our doorstep, and this was definitely the case with me and Painshill Park until recently. It's probably our closest garden, and yet we'd never visited before, preferring to visit either RHS Wisley or Claremont Landscape Garden. Principally due to the cost, as I have both RHS and National Trust memberships, so both of those were 'free' visits, whereas Painshill requires an entry fee of £8 per adult (or the purchase of an annual membership). I was finally persuaded to make a visit as I was craving somewhere new and wanted to see what Painshill Park had to offer. Max and I headed there early one ...

A Spring Visit to Sissinghurst Castle Garden

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Sissinghurst Castle Garden has long been on my list to visit. It's one of the UK's most famous gardens, designed and created by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson and now a Grade I listed National Trust property. We made our first visit last summer, but sadly we weren't lucky with the weather and it rained quite heavily the whole time we were there. This year we decided on a revisit and we couldn't have been luckier with the weather!     The entrance takes you through into a courtyard with perfectly manicured lawns and in spring the scent of the hyacinths hits you straight away. Although it's named Sissinghurst Castle Garden, the only nod to the Castle is the Tower, which you can walk ...

The Best Gardens in Surrey

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We moved to Surrey nearly 4 years ago now, and one of the things I love most about it is the number of beautiful gardens it has. I must have visited so many now, but each garden has something unique to offer and I love that a visit at different times of year allows you to see a completely different side to a place. These are some of my favourite gardens in Surrey to visit.   RHS Wisley RHS Wisley is one of my favourite places to visit and I feel so lucky to have it on our doorstep. It's a huge space, with so many different areas to explore - a large glasshouse, rose gardens, orchards, a pinetum, as well as spectacular ...

A visit to Great Dixter in late summer

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Since my love for gardening has taken hold, there are certain gardens that I've wanted to visit for ages. These are gardens that you see featured all the time in magazines and books, and the photos always look spectacular. Great Dixter was the home of garden designer Christopher Lloyd, and it's characterised by a bold use of colour and really dense planting. It's been on my 'must visit' list for a long time, and despite being without my 'big' camera as it was being repaired (all photos in this post are from my phone!), I really wanted to see Great Dixter in late summer, before autumn set in and things started to go to seed.     I was stunned by the density of the ...

The Garden in August

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For me, the garden in August is always a time for reflection. It's a little less heavy in terms of regular jobs, so you can look back at what has already flowered in the year, and see the promise of what is still to come. You can see what has worked well and what needs a bit of tinkering with to achieve what you're aiming for. Because gardening is a never completed job - there's always something that you want to tweak here and there. So please forgive this post for it's lack of pretty pictures - it's more a reflection on what I want to improve next year rather than what's gone well this year!   Cottage Garden vs. Natural Planting My ...

The Garden in July

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It's fair to say that June was more a month of recovery for us after the flood disaster back in May, but I'm hoping that July will bring us back on track. I feel like all the work in restoring has put us way behind in the day to day maintenance that a garden needs though, so July certainly needs to be a month of lots of weeding! But the thing I've been most excited about has been the ability to sit outside and enjoy the garden properly! We've dusted off all of the furniture, and even managed to eat outside which Max thought was a complete novelty! There's something a bit magical and holiday-like about eating outside, isn't there?     I love ...

A visit to Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

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Hampton Court Flower Show is one of the biggest events in horticulture, and as an RHS member living not too far away, I was really keen to visit this year. I booked an early-bird RHS ticket for £20, arranged childcare, and off I went - all on my own! It was blissful to be able to wander around the ground, just seeing what caught my eye, without having to worry about pleasing anyone else. I even caught a glimpse of Monty Don being mobbed by adoring fans!   The Show Gardens The show gardens are the big attraction for me. I love seeing them and taking inspiration for my own garden. They're all spread out throughout the show ground, so you do have ...

Restoring a Flooded Garden

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When our garden flooded last month I was devastated. Of course it's a small issue compared to experiencing flooding of your house, but I was very upset to envisage all of the hard work I'd put into the garden over the last year going literally down the drain. But I've been so surprised by how resilient a garden can be to flooding - if you're reading this after experiencing a flood and hoping to restore your flooded garden, I hope you'll be reassured by how quickly ours has bounced back. Stay off the soil and the lawn until the water has gone Be patient and allow the water to drain away. Walking on water-logged soil compacts it, making it more difficult for it ...

How to create a stunning summer pot display

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One of the easiest ways to add colour to your garden in the summer is through a summer pot display. Although I love having a large garden to look after now, our previous house had only a small courtyard garden, so I'm used to being limited to container gardening. Summer pots are one of my favourite ways to add colour to the garden at the time when you're going to be using it most. After getting back from our holiday, setting up our summer pot display was one of my first to-do items. I headed to the garden centre to pick up the plants I wanted to use and got straight onto it. There is an art to creating a mixed pot ...

Wisteria at Greys Court

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I'm a huge lover of wisteria (and judging by my Instagram feed lately, I'm not alone!). It's such a brief period when it's blooming and you notice it everywhere - the gorgeous purple colour is stunning and the smell is something special. I got a call from my Mum earlier this week, well aware of my wisteria love, to tell me to get to Greys Court as soon as possible as she'd just visited and seen the most amazing wisteria. Not one to argue with my Mum (you wouldn't either!), we duly headed there early one morning to check it out (and make good use of our new National Trust membership at the same time). Greys Court dates back to the ...