Gardening is something I prefer to do rather than read about. However I am prepared to make an exception with this book, it is most enjoyable. Penelope Lively has always been a keen gardener. This book is partly a memoir of her own life in gardens; the large garden at home in Cairo where she spent most of her childhood, her grandmother’s garden in a sloping Somerset field, then two successive Oxfordshire gardens of the her own, and the... View Article
In January we are faced with Winter unadorned. Without the leaves on the trees the bare bones of the landscape can be seen clearly. This portrait of my allotment was done this January. Philip, who tends the next door allotment, knows everything about gardening, he can be seen here at the bottom of the allotment. On Wednesday afternoons I make sure we bump into each other so I can continue my professional development by bombarding him with questions. If anyone... View Article
What does the word ‘natural’ mean to you, or the word ‘chemical’? Natural has come to mean anything connected to nature, summoning up a picture of a young girl skipping through meadow, stopping momentarily to pick a buttercup, and then continuing her journey towards a perfectly appointed elysian landscape, where birds sing, sun shines and everything is happy, joyous and slightly nauseating. Chemicals, on the other hand, are bad, they kill, they upset the balance of nature, they are generally... View Article
I thought it would be fun to come up with some recipes for things that are in season. Today’s subject is beetroot. As a child I was put off this venerable vegetable by nuns whose habit was to steep them in vinegar and then force them on us at lunch time. It took a long time for me to face beetroot without fear. In actuality beetroot has a fantastic earthy flavour and responds well to a number of treatments, roasting,... View Article
Neill Menneer, the photographer, came and took some pictures of me on my allotment and I wrote about my work. Here is the result. Bath @ work: Frances Bellord – Gardener
Yesterday I went to RHS Rosemoor, which is in Devon. I have to say it is one of the most amazing gardens I have ever seen. If you like roses of any description then this is the place for you. This has been a particularly good year for roses and the recent sunny blast means they are now looking their best. The garden consists of a parterre divided into seven parts, two of which are completely devoted to roses. The hot... View Article
A recipe for deliciousness. Complementary colours and interesting textures, the pink of Rosa noisette, the dark foliage of Sambuca nigra lace, the soft green foliage of Pittosporum Silver Queen and the subtler pink of Rosa Maurice Sackler. I put these plants in a Larkhall garden and now they are growing into their own.
A couple of weeks ago I visited a garden outside Bath. The house had been occupied by a keen gardener but is now owned by a couple who both work hard and have limited spare time for the garden. We discussed the possibility of gravel but agreed that this would mean there would be too much hard landscaping for this country garden. My visualisation shows how the border would look like lawned. It would be inexpensive, less maintenance than a herbaceous border, and... View Article
This is what happens if you prune in Autumn instead of just after it has flowered in Spring or Summer. See the left where there are few flowers, the right has many flowers which brighten a winter garden. TAKE HEED. Pruning at the wrong time can lead to distress and disappointment.
A visit to the Courts Garden in Holt proves that certain elements need to be included in the garden design for it to look good in Winter. The Lutyens style bench, the stone urns and the evergreen box give landmarks that can be referenced year-round.