Book review: Some Flowers by Vita Sackville-West

'This short book is personal, and therefore very arbitrary,' begins Vita Sackville-West in the foreword to her book of essays on twenty-five of her favourite flowers. And at first glance down the contents page, the flowers she has chosen do appear to be haphazardly selected, heavily weighted as they are, for no reason that is…

The Way We Used To Garden: a conversation with a 96-year-old gardener

My grandmother Cynthia was born in 1921, and has lived within a couple of miles of the same South Derbyshire village for her entire life. She has always been an enthusiastic gardener and continues to tend to her perennials and vegetables to this day, despite losing most of her eyesight to macular degeneration about twenty…

Summer stalwarts: a few flowers I can’t live without

My brother-in-law and his partner came to visit us this weekend, which meant the usual dash to convert domestic chaos into an illusion of homely perfection. Our spare room doubles as my husband's man cave, so the task was formidable and involved a degree of brutality, rehoming of bikes, and a lot of dusting. The…