Sarah Coles

Garden Blog

Plant of the week – July 

This is my red leaved banana, green leaves with red stems and herring bone veins, glossy, impossibly imposing, its central shoot scrolled into a beetroot spike before loosening into a funnel then relaxing into leaves beneath another shoot. Everyone says how splendid, and then, when’s it going to flower?  Which it won’t, it’ll be dead long before it has a chance to consider this.  It’s enough that now, every day, it is here, revealing a fresh leaf and spike every few days.  The sun shines through in late afternoon, making it psychedelic, a creature half plant half animal.  It guards me while I dream.   

Four of these red leaved bananas stand to attention in pots beside the patio steps.  They call to us, to pay attention and listen.  They grow taller and taller, grander by the day.  The name is Musa ensete maurellii.

 

 

 

 

September 2nd, 2021

SELLING YOUR HOUSE? DO UP THE GARDEN!

  Below’s blog is by American blogger, Paul Denikin.  It’s about sprucing up the garden before putting your house on the market.   After all, the garden is the first thing a potential buyer sees, and therefore needs, as he puts it, ‘curb appeal’.  Here are his suggestions! ________________________________________________ How to Create Curb Appeal That Packs a Wallop by Paul Denikin A house that really feels like a home begins with what you see on the outside. In fact, your yard should be a place of pride and...

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August 30th, 2021

PLANT INTELLIGENCE

Do Plants Think? I read an article in the New Scientist (Smarty Plants, 6 December 2014) about the intelligence of plants by Anil Anathaswamy.  (I had already explored this concept in my book LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND GARDENING.)  Plants respond to touch – mimosa pudica quickly, but others more slowly, heavens a lot more slowly – they respond to light and shade, they can hear (we saw orchids swaying to music in Thailand, yes, I am not joking), they can smell and communicate.  ‘They think, they react, they remember.’ Now it’s...

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July 27th, 2021

ROSES

It’s like returning to a discarded lover who has stayed faithful through the years.  I was just bored with roses.  They were so damn flowery.  Decades ago, I was told to spray with chemicals to stop the mildew, blackspot, you name it, ‘to keep them clean’.  I never did.  But now I see you once more and know that in fact I love you. You have such variety you are never boring.  The east wall is papered with Pink Perpetue, symmetrical and much admired,  scentless but whose petals neatly fall. Best is Cecile Brunner, a glorious...

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June 20th, 2021

Herbs and more in England’s Ancient Garden Map

‘Dulwich?  How dull!’  joked Bob when I was going there.  So I looked up the name, and found Dulwich originates from Dill – it was the place where dill grew, where they went to harvest and infuse it in 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 the hill where box...

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June 11th, 2021

GREEN MAN IN THE GARDEN

In Ely Cathedral there are at least Green Men and animals, with greenery spewing from their mouths and sometimes eyes.  What do they mean?  They come  from the 11th to the 15th centuries, though I have seen a late Roman mosaic Green Man in Istanbul’s mosaic museum. Some say they symbolize pagan nature, always in torment, and always sited near the west end.  However, in Ely they are mostly at the east end, in the choir and near the high altar.  You can spot them in churches and cathedrals all over England. Is he ‘Jack of the...

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February 24th, 2021

A GARDEN FOR LILLIPUT

15th February 2021 Miniature garden designer My first garden was created decades ago.  Must have been aged about five. When Ma took me out on a walk, I gathered twigs and mosses, and on returning home I arranged them on a plate to become a doll’s house garden.  Ma lent me a little mirror from her handbag.  My garden was Japanese in feel, with bridges, shrubs, a tree here and there and a central glittering pond.  Green was its only colour. I was thinking about it.  And so the other day, in this damp cold time of Covid restrictions, ...

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February 18th, 2021

WINTER LEAVES

It’s winter, depths of.  Freezing.  I look at tree trunks, and lichen like verdigris, and the leaves that remain.  So subtle, unlike the baby froth of spring, the punch of summer or fire of autumn.  It’s like being able to see stars in daytime. There’s variegated ivy spread eagled on a wall, giving all year shelter and nesting to the birds.   Never thought it would grow like this when I bought it in a little pot to stabilise a nearby bank.   Each leaf is an island map with pale, dark  and gold contours. Mid summer I hacked down...

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September 25th, 2020

FIGS

Figs!  So many figs.   Usually one or two edible, but that’s all.  This summer it bore the usual hard green figs but they ripened.  The birds were as excited as we.  So, walking under the leaves, each penis and testicle shaped – no wonder Adam clothed himself in one – a heart shaped linden leaf more suitable for Eve? – the sun glowing through, and reaching for a ripe fig, skin dull brownish green but within rings of dull cream and purple surrounding soft wet pinky orange seeds, its secret garden.  Food for...

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September 25th, 2020

Golden Rain

I planted the Golden Rain Tree, Koelreuteria paniculata oh, twelve years ago, having  checked its hardiness and tolerance of chalky soil.  I liked the name.  Soon I was attaching bird feeder to its branches.   Now, it blots out any summer view from the bedroom above.   In spring ferny pink leaves appear, later green.  In late July and August sprays of tiny gold flowers bloom.  These fade and fall, but the show is not over.  The tree is covered by sprays of little Chinese lanterns holding the seed.  Eventually, leaves and lanterns...

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August 6th, 2020

PAINTING PARADISE

My garden is the nearest I get to paradise.  It is my sanctuary. Years ago I went – I don’t know when – to see Painting Paradise, the Art of the Garden at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, with plant and garden paintings gathered by the royals over the centuries.   I loved the manuscripts of Islamic gardens with octagonal ponds and chenar (plane) trees, lovers and flowers (their deep symbolism barely mentioned in explanatory notes).  Ditto Rembrandt’s painting of Christ as a gardener, complete with trowel.   Ditto...

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