Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cardinal Vaughan

The Cardinal reminds me of Blake’s Sick Rose picture

Not that this tree peony star he is sick. He started waving his finery around just before Chelsea after six years twiddling his thumbs and refusing to flower much despite sitting in a pot of my finest Chateau Owen compost.

Chelsea wednesday James Alexander Sinclair Mark Gregory and Ian Dexter

Gorgeous pouting (GP) James Alexander Sinclair, author of outstanding garden blogs for the BBC and himself … ment_layer as well as being a famous, fabulous person, is co-chairing Chelsea’s Gardening Matters forum with me today.
Mark Gregory and Ian Dexter are first up to talk about the Marshalls garden – The Street The Street is buzzing.
I’ve admired Mark’s excellent Chelsea construction work (and more recently his own eco designs) for years. And I loved Ian’s Marshall’s garden last year with its clever climbing frame/ pavilion. But what I liked most about seeing these two on stage together is that they were still speaking – just a couple of days after the exhausting marathon of a Chelsea build which has a lot of designers and constructors ripping each other limb from limb .



Which plants to leave out? Can’t bring them all in. The orange tree has retreated inside, ditto a couple of scented leaf geraniums. The eucomis are sitting in a sheltered (I hope) area beside a brick wall.
But the wormery will grind to a halt and there’s nothing I can do about it apart from bringing it inside…    

Challenge: how would you define ‘garden’?

Ian came up with some definitions of a garden. Which is brave because no one has managed a decent definition- ever. And it’s been a while since Adam and Eve started the garden business.
Adam and Eve were too busy eating apples to define where they were but we British should have come up with a definition by now. Even the OED definition (“enclosed piece of ground devoted to the cultivation of flowers, fruit or vegetables”) was deemed inadequate. Last year, in the High Court, Lord Justice Moses said, ‘That definition is clearly now too narrow, as the current fashion for wild gardens and meadow areas amply demonstrates.
‘The reality is that no description will categorically establish whether a piece of land is a garden or not. It is incumbent on the fact finder to determine its use.
‘It is important to look at the relationship between the owner and the land, and the history and character of the land and space.’

Is the true definition: ‘the only place where the British feel able to express themselves’?
Your thoughts here, please.


Chelsea rosearian

The great rosearian Michael Marriot is the next speaker. He reminds me about my love affair with roses. Years, ago when I bought my first David Austin roses, I reckoned that they were fashionable but useless but now….I would not be without their voluptuous scent and petals. And I certainly wouldn’t be without the advice of brilliant Michael

Not that we always agree. Michael once banned me from planting the thornless, heavily scented Zepherine Drouhin rose in a client’s garden. I have never really forgiven him but, on the other hand, David Austin’s … showr=5084 Young Lycidas is roughly the same colour – but deeper pink maybe – and the scent is mind blowing.


Women of the Year

Annie Lennox and the Home Secretary got together to big up SING, an AIDS charity Listen and be moved.
Camila Batmanghelidjh said she would rather be facing a teenager with a knife than us lot after lunch. Her work with homeless, troubled teenagers is being threatened by a funding cut. This is insanity. Which billionaire with a brain will step up to this particular plate? Please?,
As always the lunch was packed with women doing boggling stuff – witness this site:

And Shara Brice and the East End kids she turned into a troupe of world class cheer leaders…can’t wait to see the film that Hollywood is making about them.    

Savoy muffin

Odd things always happens after time spent at the Savoy. Once, many years ago, the concierge found me my first husband. Another time Adam Faith picked me up in the American bar on the night I launched the Daily Express’ first colour magazine. And then there was the Botham incident, again in the American bar.
Tonight I went to a small pre-opening party to have a look at the renovations which have taken nearly three years. All very lovely.
Outside, just beyond the only street in the UK where you have to drive on the right I gave a hand to a man in a wheelchair. Ten minutes later I was in at the Royal Opera House listening to an audience with Sir Jonathan Miller talking about.. opera. All thanks to my mystery new friend – don’t even know his name,
As I left, slightly early, I lost my way and landed up in the staff canteen where I found a pile of chocolate muffins. I hate the things but bought a couple for my colleague Tom Robbins, the FT’s travel editor. That was the deal – I represented him at the Savoy so long as I ‘brought back muffins from the Savoy’. Has anyone else ever seen muffins at The Savoy? Well I haven’t and even the super soaraway new Savoy had little parcels of raw tuna, tankers of champagne, teeny spring rolls etc etc but no muffins.
So the muffin issue was resolved by the Royal Opera House.
And if my mystery friend reads this: thank you so much.