Category Archives: Other people’s gardens

Coleton Fishacre

I also visited the wonderful gardens of Coleton Fishacre and what a time to visit.  As high summer is the perfect time to see and explore this beautiful garden. The banks and borders were over flowing bright ribbons and swathes of colours. This all sits against a backdrop of stunning sea views. The Rill and walled Gardens are a pure joy and the hot border sang in the sunshine

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Agatha Christie home (Greenway)

It’ has also been a year of visiting and discovering lovely garden. Two highlights have been visiting Agatha Christie home (Greenway) and its delightful gardens, which being slightly overgrown was just my cup of tea.

The garden at Greenways sits within a woodland garden that waxes and weaves its way down to river Dart. It has spectacular views, colourful borders, a fernery, a walled garden and majestic trees. Many of which were planted to protect the privacy of Madam Christie.

The garden at Greenway.

A new garden opening in Clapham

I was honoured to be invited to see a wonderful garden that’s small but perfectly formed. The garden belongs to Jack and Chris and shows the amazing and wonderful things that can be done in a very small garden.  And the good news is it’s going opening to the public on 23rd July 2017 as part of the NGS (National Open Garden Scheme)Address : 2 Littlebury Road, Clapham (1 -5 pm).

This small garden, creatively packed with bright colours and interesting plants. One of the many highlights of this garden is a living wall of 50 fern species, a micro-pond, tropical plants and quirky indoor plants. In July colour comes from monad, clematis, acanthus, salvia and aliums.  September opening sees (Sunday 10 September (1 – 5pm) Dahlias in triumphant, unmissable glory. Owned by a garden designer/blogger who uses his garden as a trial ground for new ideas.

I’m so happy that people are going to be able to see this truly wonderful garden.

I urge people go and see this small but perfectly formed garden.


An Australian Odyssey

Just back from a trip down under and was lucky enough to visit Wendy Whiteley’s wonderfully astounding secret garden that sits on the edge of Lavender Bay on a large patch of former derelict land.

Although, I set out to find Wendy’s garden it very much feels like stumbling upon an amazingly magical make believe land with incredible views of Sydney. The planting is lush, tropical and dense with lots of nooks and crannies in which to simply sit. At times it’s hard to believe you’re in a city. I was there for four hours and saw tourist mingling with local office workers having their lunch. I was also overjoyed to see so many young people enjoying this wonderful garden.

The story behind this garden is as astonishing as the garden itself, it was created at considerable personal expense. Wendy has spent millions (of dollars) on this amazing garden. Thirty years ago Wendy started cleaning up (what was then a large patch of derelict land) that’s adjacent to her Lavender Bay home. The land is owned by the Rail Corporation. When Wendy started this garden it was covered in weeds, rumble and rubbish. Remarkably the Rail Corporation had no interest in the land and raised no objections to Wendy beautifying the area. She did this long before guerrilla gardening ever became fashionable. The public have always had free access to this wonderful garden that I’m totally in love with.

In 2009, Wendy was awarded the Medal of Order of Australia for “service to the community through the establishment and maintenance of a public garden.

I would urge everyone visiting Sydney to take a couple hours and see this joyous garden

English cottage gardens in Australia

Given how many expats live in Australia it’s hardly surprising that English cottage gardens are popular down under. However, the ones I saw were owned by Australians and South Africans. My garden it’s highly influenced by the tropical plants of my birth place Jamaica however, it’s also influenced by English cottage gardens that merges informally with dense plantings.

The plant of my Australian Odyssey was the Agapanthus (African lily) that seems to grow everyone.


Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank

Luther Burbank was born in 1869 and was a world-renowned botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science. He developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55-year career.

Chelsea flower show

The Chelsea Flower Show is an annual treat that seems to come around faster every year.  My highlights this year included The Telegraph Garden by Marcus Barnett, The Beauty of Islam by Kamelia Bin Zaal, and The Pure Land Foundation Garden by Fernando Gonzalez, a small poetic garden that combined emotions in an imaginative and beautiful way. It reminded me of Barcelona, one of my favourite cities wonderful architecture of Antoni Gaudí. I loved it and think they would have got more than a silver gilt medal if they had focused more on the Gaudí influence.  I spoke to the designer about how difficult it is to get sponsors for a Chelsea garden when you’re an unknown name.

Dan Pearson won Best in Show for his Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden, inspired by a Trout Stream and rockery in corner of the garden of the Derbyshire stately home Chatsworth House.  It wasn’t to my taste but disagreeing with the judges is part of the fun of Chelsea.  I think this garden won Best in Show because it took a fresher approach than The Daily Telegraph Garden, which was my best in show.

Sean Murray’s garden, the winner of the BBC’s Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, both delighted and surprised. It delighted with its beauty and surprised by being sharp and contained.  It highlighted the issue of front gardens being paved over for off-street parking. It was lovely that the other contestants from the show were on hand to support Sean. I do hope the BBC and the RHS make this an annual event.