Arley Hall, Cheshire: the gardens in Spring

Arley Hall and its grand estate and extensive formal gardens lie near Warrington in the North West of England. I am always on the look-out for pleasant stop-offs to break my regular 5-hour journey between Edinburgh and Derbyshire, and Arley being just a few miles from the M6 it seemed like a good place to…

Sunshine and gardening in Derbyshire

I am lucky enough to have a wonderful grandmother who lives in the Derbyshire countryside. She has dogs and a horse and the most beautiful cottage garden, and I adore staying there. It's a wonderful break from the stresses of ordinary life, and I can sit for hours listening to my grandmother's anecdotes, or touring…

Back Garden Project Part 2: Donkey-work and Power-whacking

Building a terrace will take no more than a couple of days, if you'll believe various online guides. I allowed double that and gave myself the four-day Easter weekend, fully anticipating cocktails on the completed terrace by sundown on Easter Monday. But I needed the weekend after that, and the one after that too, plus…

End of March View 2016

Even as I edit these photos, which I took just four days ago, I can see that spring growth has already progressed. The skimmia buds have now opened almost completely, the drumstick primulas have grown another inch, and the hyacinths have stuck their chests out like indignant body-builders. Despite today's stormy skies and my having…