Doddington Place Gardens

Near Sittingbourne, Kent.

Maude Smith celebrates the natural world in tea towels and tiles.

Posted: January 20th, 2021

Of the many imaginative creative projects that have sprung out of Covid, Maude Smith’s range of tea towels and tiles celebrating the natural world have jumped out at me from Instagram. (@maude_made) The beguiling tea towels have a naïve charm with a particularly English sensibility. Butterflies, grasses, leaves, mushrooms, sheep,…

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The Glasshouse Botanic

Posted: December 17th, 2020

The Glasshouse Botanic Design is an inspiring new social enterprise initiative launched earlier this year, at East Sutton Park, an open women’s prison in Kent. The brainchild of social entrepreneur Melissa Murdoch, and Kali Hamerton-Stove, the Project Director, the idea is to utilise the abandoned glasshouses that these days are…

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Legendary plantsman, Maurice Foster

Posted: November 9th, 2020

Over the years, White House Farm, near Sevenoaks, has become a mecca for plantsmen the world over. Home to more than 200 different kinds of magnolia, hundreds of hydrangeas (many of them bred by Maurice), an outstanding collection of climbing roses, a fine arboretum of more than 3000 trees and…

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Flowers delivered to the door during the Coronavirus emergency

Posted: April 2nd, 2020

What could be more cheering than receiving a bunch of English flowers during this horrid Coronavirus emergency? Luckily a few plucky wholesalers and growers are battling on. I have talked to a wholesaler and a florist who both specialise in British grown flowers: ‘Flowers don’t know there is a lockdown,’…

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Liz Bradley

Posted: September 25th, 2019

Liz Bradley’s exuberant paintings of flowers are marvellously uplifting. Her sheer delight in bright colours coupled with a meticulous eye for botanical detail makes her pictures a joy to behold. In a way they are the 21st century equivalent of the Dutch Old Master flower painters of the 17th centuries,…

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The Secret Art of Vegetable Judging

Posted: July 25th, 2019

‘It is very addictive; in fact, it is an obsession,’ says Caddy Wilmot-Sitwell describing her new found role as a professional judge of vegetables at horticultural shows up and down the country. If you, like me, have gazed with wonderment on exquisite onions replete with an opalescent gleam at your…

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Faversham Open Gardens 2019

Posted: June 18th, 2019

If you love visiting gardens you are in for a treat on Sunday 30th June, when an astonishing tally of 30 gardens are taking part in Faversham Open Gardens Day. The attractive ancient market town in East Kent has much to offer - fine architecture, good eateries, a fascinating history…

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Edibleculture

Posted: April 12th, 2019

Hurrah for the nursery Edibleculture, whose aim is ‘to never let a plastic pot leave the premises.’ As all gardeners know this an ambitious statement to make - don’t we all have large piles of old plastic plant pots? The advent of the POSIpot is set to revolutionize horticulture retailing.…

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Juniper and Bliss

Posted: November 26th, 2018

Who would have thought that woollen baby blankets hand-dyed with daffodil heads could be so beguiling? ‘These days this is what luxury is all about,’ says Yasmin Hossain of Juniper and Bliss, producers of the Baby Bliss blankets, part of a range of products for the home using natural plant…

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Flower Fairies

Posted: August 10th, 2018

Do you believe in Fairies? In today’s technological world I am pleased to say that fairies are as popular as ever. The desire to escape and believe is still potent. Young, middle-aged and aged fairy fanciers are flocking to the ‘Flower Fairies’ exhibition at the Garden Museum until 30 September 2018. There…

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