Sarah Coles

It was that Glimpse of the Sea, the Sea

And so we went to Encombe, a grandly simple house of Purbeck stone enfolded by hills and facing the sea, about a mile away.  James Gaggero said in winter storms you can hear the sea roaring.  We were there to see the new garden created by Tom Stuart Smith, doyen of garden designers.  Led by charming gardeners (but how I hate being led, I want to wander with a plan of the place, or just wander, I don’t want to have to stand and hear how many tons of manure were incorporated in this difficult soil, etc etc), we duly admired the wide flowing herbaceous borders near the house and below the...
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I was going to Dulwich Art Gallery, and he joked ‘Dulwich?  How dull!  That’s the origin of the name.’    I said crossly, ‘It’s not!’  I looked it up, and the name’s origin is Dill – it was the place where dill grew, where they went out to collect it to infuse gripe water for infant and other ailments. Suddenly I saw a map of England, alive with all the plants which give places their name.  Not just dill at Dulwich.  Alresford, where I live is the ford with alders.  Woods of oak, ash, beech and birch abound at Oakhampton, Ashridge, Beecham, and Birkenhead.  Bexhill is...
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In the Shade

We’ve been in 5 Bay Tree Yard nine years, and it gets shadier by the day.  The quince was here already, and the two birches are now tall (the woman over the fence asked if we’d have them topped, because of the nuisance of leaves rotting her decking. We said no – the birches are a lot older than her house and garden).  And, to create a further visual barrier between us and the fence, I planted four standard cotoneasters, one whitebeam, two Gleditsia triacanthos Sunburst either side the steps from the patio to the lawn, one Koelreuteria – Golden Rain Tree – and one...
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