Doddington Place Gardens

Crossing the Borders

Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter, Sussex

Posted: April 13th, 2016

‘”Why don’t you do horticulture?” I didn’t even know what it meant’ says Fergus Garrett, of Great Dixter, as he explains why he switched from agriculture whilst studying at Wye College, Kent. The gardening fraternity has a lot to thank his Director of Studies for. ‘My first class was garden…

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Spring at Doddington Place, Kent

Posted: April 4th, 2016

As regular readers of this blog know I hardly ever write about my garden.  There are plenty of other scribes writing about their triumphs or disappointments in their own plots.  This month I have decided to make an exception as there is so much that is looking good at the moment,…

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Camellias at Chiswick House

Posted: March 1st, 2016

To step into the elegant camellia filled glasshouse at Chiswick House during the next couple of weeks is to be transported to the rarefied world of early 19th-century aristocrats who revelled in exotic plants. In an age when it is possible to buy tropical plants from any old garden centre…

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Flowers at the ‘Nellie’ in Cape Town.

Posted: February 22nd, 2016

If you find yourself in Cape Town I highly recommend afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel. Not only is the array of cakes and biscuits on offer staggering in both its deliciousness and variety but the nine acre garden is also a delight. And it is just a few…

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Thrive, the marvellous gardening charity.

Posted: January 11th, 2016

The sad news of the demise of the charity ‘Gardening Leave’ at the end of last year inspired me to investigate charities working with horticulture as a way of helping people with a wide range of disabilities, ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable. Thrive, the leading gardening…

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Easy English orchids

Posted: November 30th, 2015

Hurrah for McBeans, the specialist orchid nursery and a remarkable survival of the craze for orchids that swept stately home hothouses in the late 19th-century. It still occupies the site where it was originally founded in 1879 near Lewes, Sussex. But a year ago its tragic demise was imminent. ‘We…

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Great Christmas gift ideas for gardeners

Posted: October 29th, 2015

It's that time of year again.  Christmas present lists are beginning to litter everyone's kitchen tables.  If you are near the delightful Kentish Wealden town, Hawkhurst, you must visit Cranbrook Iron's 'pop up' shop opening on the 6th November at Septimus Quayles, Ockley Road, Hawkhurst, Kent TN18 4DP. In addition there will…

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Marchants Nursery, Sussex

Posted: October 5th, 2015

Arriving at Marchants for the first time is an exhilarating experience. Down a little country lane, the renowned nursery beloved by plantsmen is discreetly hidden away. The eye is immediately captivated by great swathes of strikingly original planting set against the ravishing backdrop of the South Downs. I first visited…

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Alstroemeria Ben

Posted: August 31st, 2015

plant nurseriesLilies of the Incas, Peruvian Lilies, or alstroemerias are beloved by florists due to their longevity as a cut flower. ‘”The perfect flower”’ is how our team describe them’ says Ben Cross, the fourth generation of his family to grow alstroemerias in a wholesale nursery near Chichester, West Sussex.…

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The Queen of Topiary

Posted: July 3rd, 2015

What’s not to love about topiary? Its whimsicality appeals to everyone whether they are gardeners or not. All manner of topiary can be found at the splendidly named Balmoral, one of the most original gardens made in England in the past few decades. Hidden away behind Benenden Church, in the…

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