Sarah Coles

Garden Blog

January 8th, 2017


Overnight ghost stag horn ferns and clouds sprout on the windows of the freezing greenhouse.  But as it warms by one degree they vanish as quickly as they came, leaving smeary glass.  But while they are here, the freezing tiles on the barn opposite are outlined in white, grass is crisp and wiry, everything is still, and beautiful.  Twigs and leaves sparkle with a myriad brilliant spots, as though each were a pinhole to paradise.  Which they are.  Today it’s warmer and everywhere is flat, wet, dark.  Tiny balloons from last...


January 7th, 2017


JANUARY 3RD 2017 Bright  and freezing.  Nothing in the way of flowers but, wait!  I never noticed Christmas Box, Sarcocca confusa, its slight creamy flowers are barely visible among the shiny leaves and last year’s black berries, but boy … from two pots either side the door its scent now wafts over everyone who enters.  A welcome, a Please Enter. They’ve been there over ten years, and come from self sown seedlings, and all I do is occasionally top dress them, scraping off some soil and replacing it with fresh...


January 4th, 2016


January 3rd. Wet and warm. Rains every day. Since I have had my cataracts lasered off I can actually see! And drops do not dribble down or mist up my specs because I don’t wear them. Best, I can see the row of hellebores among emergent bluebells along the narrow path to the gate – already out at the end of December. Most are still pearls hugging the earth, but one is fully out, petals with coarse maroon flecks and, another, most precious of all because it is self-sown and therefore like nothing else and totally mine, is one which...


January 1st, 2016


I went to London to see the late Turner exhibition. Oh I loved it, the way he stayed by the sea and saw the waves rushing one way and dissolved into spray by the wind the other way. He saw the energy and life in all things, in the sea, and in the scudding clouds, and in the fires as the House of Lords burnt down. This energy, this change, is History (had to give it an H). I took off my glasses, and the crowds melded together, like a misty Turner crowd, without individuality, just this rushing presence. Then there was the death of...


November 30th, 2015

The Cauldron in the Forest

In the British Museum I saw, in an exhibition on the Celts, the Gundelstrup Cauldron, from Denmark. Silver, with great panels inside and out. Of god faces, a god with horns, animals of all kinds, hybrid animals, a man riding a fish, a girl plaiting the hair of a goddess – all stern and staring. What ritual drink did the cauldron contain? Wine? Mead? The blood of sacrificial victims? And weaving through it all in the background, the leaves of a linden, here the primal tree of the forest. All creation merged and was the other....


November 30th, 2015

Dandelions – from the USA


September 20th, 2015


I’ve been there twice, but never in the crumbling grotto – I’d walked around the motley collection of follies and was not planning to go again but when an invitation arrived for a press junket with guided tour to see the newly restored grotto, well, I had to go – despite being allergic to guided tours. Arrived at Painshill, having negotiated Surrey’s endless suburbia, & parked. The usual press greeting with bix and lukewarm coffee from a thermos. Then off we set, about 12 of us, with head gardener Andy – into the walled...


August 31st, 2015


Wendy is my Inspiration.  She lent me a book on the Findhorn Foundation which I found very New Agey (communing with plants!  I only knew that as a flowery metaphor). But later I  stayed at the Findhorn Foundation for a couple of nights, and took part in a wonderful tribal circle dance in the hall.  A meditation room was roofed in heather, but I found it very difficult to even slightly loosen the cold grip of rationality I had been brought up in. Then Wendy started a meditation  group and invited me to join.  The others were far more...


August 22nd, 2015

New Plants So Far …

    JANUARY Acanthus, I planted 2 from RHS under the gleditsia, having seen them do well in shade in Winchester. In March, find label Acanthus Tasmanian Angel, all variegated & spotty sickly – ugh! But is it them?   (August, and both doing ok and not variegated, and one has had a tall beautiful flowers) MARCH 25 Gladioli from Jane Fuest. Planted them in pot to see how they do and, that way, I have more control over them – slugs, weeds, watering etc. Jane’s are in pots. Varieties: Given names seem completely wrong.  Wine...


August 18th, 2015


Good to be here again, in spite of the howl of the A 14, with all these experts and all the veg and flowers bursting from the sandy soil. Never seen such runner bean flowers, a perfect peachy pink, grown over wigwams.  Named Celebration.  I’ll grow them here, allowing them to ramble over shrubs and pick them when I felt like it. All forms and colours of dahlias, but I am not keen on pompon, ball, waterlily, anemone or cactus types – they attract no insects, no bees, and would be like Essex bling in my garden which gets...


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