Sarah Coles

OTHER PEOPLE’S GARDENS

JUNE The gardens in our village are open today. Broad Street is lined with sedate Georgian houses all built within decades of each other because two massive 18th century fires burnt their predecessors down. Their gardens extend behind, some as far as 75 yards. Every house, in fact the whole area, is listed, which means the owners can’t alter the front facades but behind they can erect garden sheds or summer houses or conservatories. The backs are a contrast, relaxed and higgledy piggledy. You enter a garden, via a gate or garage which was formerly a coach house. Delphiniums and roses are the order of...
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KEEP HOPING

SOPHORA JAPONICA – THE CHINESE SCHOLAR’S TREE Twelve years ago I planted a Sophora japonica, the Chinese Scholar Tree – I liked to think of writing under its shade, and I’d seen one with pale pink pea flowers. It’s also called the Pagoda Tree. It has pinnate leaves, with leaflets twinning each other giving the whole tree a light airy feel. My tree grew and grew. Its shade soon covered the terrace and much of the garden. Its leaves blocked the gutters in winter, causing Bob aged 86 to climb a ladder and clear them out. What if he slipped? So last winter I got...
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CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2019

CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW! 2019 Yes, it’s over. I’m critical but I love it, the vibes, the brief excitement in this tiny area of plants, gardens, pop up shops, food vans, stalls selling Pimms, uplifting mottoes all over the place, furniture, gazebos, and sculpture, naff and ok. I went on the final day, and hardly bothered with the show gardens, because they’ve been on TV and they’re about spectacle not reality – they look stunning for a week before being slung into refuse vans. What has a Yorkshire canal lock to do with gardening? It’s about getting the tourists to Yorkshire. And it was...
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ATHENS – OCTOBER 2018

Greece – the islands, the churches, Athens, the air, the little lanes creeping up the green sides of the Acropolis. ATHENS In the isle of Tinos, Bob is  feeling unwell, he thinks he may have appendicitis. (When we get home, they say it’s gallstones, but it isn’t and the whole thing fades away. I think he feels he can do more than he’s up to, he gets so excited by the thought of all these places, Delos etc). So, I say we’d better skip any idea of Andros, and get home. I buy ferry tickets to Piraeus, and from there we get a taxi to Athens and the Jason Inn, which has no room, but sends...
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GREEK ISLAND – CYCLADES – TINOS – OCTOBER 2018

TINOS   Small ferry to another marble island, Tinos, the Lourdes of Greece. Or Knock of Ireland, or Fatima of Portugal. In 1822, time of Greek reunification, a nun Pelagia had a vision in which she saw a buried icon painted by St Luke. (Bernadette, other young women, children, it’s amazing how these visions all over the place fire up pilgrimage sites). Pelagia got everyone digging, and the was duly unearthed. A slew of miracles, particularly healing and rescuing ships at sea, was effected through its intervention. A massive church was built for it, and today pilgrims come en masse (we were lucky...
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