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Gardening

A touch of light

Gardening: I WAS reminded this week to praise God "for dappled things", as Gerard Manley Hopkins put it. I was working in the Goldsmiths' Company garden, in London, under two mature plane-trees in a microcosm of flickering light. 

Garden therapy

Gardening: THERE is a garden I know that is so magical that I have often made a detour on a dog walk to see it. It has a public right of way running through it that allows everyone to engage with the plot, while it somehow conveys the intimate feel of a loved back garden.

Winter bloomers

Gardening: STRONG will-power and clement weather are needed to get me working in the garden in January. I enjoy gardening in my mind, viewing the stark framework from indoors and bending it this way and that with new paths, beds, and planting. 

A gift to gardening

Gardening: I WANT to take you back in time to just after the Second World War, and to the Slieve Donard Nursery in County Down, Northern Ireland. Imagine a mild winter's day, the low sun alighting on the golden sprays of Mahonia japonica, enticing them to release their delicious scent. 

Autumn encore

Gardening: WE HAVE a former Bishop of London, Henry Compton, to thank for one of the best garden trees for autumn-leaf colour.

Return of the quince

Gardening: A TREE laden with yellow quinces is an uplifting sight on a sunny October day. They went out of fashion in the mid-20th century, leading Vita Sackville-West to ask, after seeing them growing wild in France: "Why don't we plant it in our gardens here, as our grandfathers did?"

Mindful musings

Gardening: This year, inspiration has come from two different sources: a visit to the Grade I listed Plas Brondanw gardens in Gwynedd, Wales; and the woefully short Channel 4 series Kirstie's Fill Your House for Free.

In mint condition

Gardening: AS I write this, the temperature in the shade is 28°C. I began the day with a refreshing cup of tea from the Tregothnan estate, near Truro. My thoughts turned to grow-your-own tea.

Blue is the colour

Gardening: THE most striking blue note in my Marian border at this moment is provided by Delphinium Loch Leven. The spires of soft mid-blue flowers with white eyes contrast with the flat, pale-yellow plates of neighbouring Achillea Taygetea, and the blowsy, fragrant, white globes of the peony Duchesse de Nemours.

Not just for show

Gardening: THE Chelsea Flower Show celebrated its centenary this year. The essence of this peculiarly British tradition endures. But what has changed? First, it is higher-tech these days, and rightly more in tune with conservation and global issues.

In a green shade

Gardening: A VISIT to the Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley, on the first warm day of 2013, did, I am afraid, reinforce a gardening stereotype. Silver-haired ladies of a certain age abounded.

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