Dahlias at the Inner Temple Garden

‘Wigo Super’

Every year, the Inner Temple Garden’s head gardener Andrea experiments with different dahlias. Here are a few that I especially loved.

‘Wigo Super’ glows in the border, and looks great against the backdrop of purple cleomes. Andrea’s so impressed with it that she’s thinking of dumping ‘David Howard’ next year and replacing him with this charmer.

Dahlia 'Edwin's Sunset'

‘Edwin’s Sunset’ positively pulsates with colour and takes over from a red rose that has finished flowering.

Purpur Konigin

In the War of the Roses border, ‘Purpur Konigin’ is stealing the show. It’s small but perfectly formed and would make a fantastic cut flower.

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The Inner Temple Garden


Late summer/early autumn is always the peak season for the High Border at the Inner Temple Garden, and head gardener Andrea Brunsendorf thinks  that this year, it’s looking the best it’s ever looked. I agree.


Almost every colour can be found in it  – orange, yellow, red, magenta, purple, pink and blue – and yet it doesn’t look garish. It just glows in the mellow autumn light. It should power on for a few weeks yet, so if you’re in London, take the time to go and see it.


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The Star Inn


I was a student in Bath many years ago, and the city has changed a lot. It was always posh, but it’s got much posher. It’s positively dripping in Farrow & Ball paint, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the council starts issuing compulsory F&B paint charts to all residents soon.

Many of the scruffier, more characterful pubs we used to frequent as students have been replaced by something much more fancy. The Beehive, which used to sell extremely strong scrumpy and pickled eggs, is now the Grappa wine bar. The Hat & Feather, which was always rather notorious, has become Hudson’s Bar & Grill.

But thankfully, some haven’t changed. The Old Green Tree is exactly the same as it ever was, and so is the Star Inn. It’s dark, coffin-shaped and known for its range of beers, and in the early Nineties, it had sawdust on the floor. There’s no sawdust now, but the beer is still good. It has some nice hanging baskets, too, and has just been named ‘Best Pub Without A Garden’ in the Bath in Bloom competition.



Cheyne Walk

Houseboat on Cheyne Walk

The foulest of days turned into the most beautiful of evenings last week, just as I found myself walking past the houseboats on Cheyne Walk. These are some of the most expensive and prestigious houseboats in the world. There was some interesting planting on quite a few of them, just a little too far away for me to take a picture of. One had a good screen of  Trachelospermum jasminoides for some much- needed privacy, and another had apple trees in barrels – quite a surreal sight, bobbing on the Thames. But I liked the planting on this one best – the contemporary (and mostly edible) planting looked good against the black backdrop.

The Millstream Project

Englishcombe, near Bath
Englishcombe, near Bath

This handsome owl is the unofficial mascot of the Millstream Project in Englishcombe Village, just outside Bath. I stumbled across it by accident one day and now drag all of my visitors there, crossing fields and streams and taking a few unnecessary detours thanks to my appalling sense of direction.

The area has been renovated and planted by the local community with help from the Duchy of Cornwall, which seems to own a lot of the land around Bath. It has brooks babbling through it, over 400 new trees and is teeming with wildlife and interesting plants. There’s a den for kids and a barbecue that anyone can use. It’s a lovely place to wander around or sit in (on some extremely nice handmade benches that were an eBay bargain). The organisers have a 21-year plan for the site, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves.


West Sussex

If I wasn’t perfectly happy with my own parents I would declare myself available for adoption by Angela and John, if they’d have me. They have an amazing house that you can imagine being featured in a Richard Curtis film, thanks to its utter cosy Englishness.

I was very taken with their summerhouse the first time I saw it, and when I stayed at their house last week I sat in it a lot. I’m now thinking that I’ll forgo a shed in my garden and go for something like this instead. To hell with practicality – who needs somewhere to store a wheelbarrow when you can lounge in an armchair instead?