How does your garden grow?

I'm on a voyage of discovery in my first garden.
It's mostly about the veggies at the moment but I'm also discovering lots about flowers and other plants - quite often the hard way and always on a very tight budget.
But this blog is not just about my garden, it's about all the things I see and discover in Sussex and beyond and I would love to hear from you too.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Cowfold Fair and Flower Show

On Saturday the rain stopped long enough for the good folks of West Sussex to step out and enjoy Cowfold's village fair.
As a closet classic car fan, I was overjoyed to see some cared-for examples of motoring history, including a German Borgward, a Jaguar XK 150 and a pristine Mk1 Ford Escort.
Also in the line-up were a modern Lambourghini and matching white Mazerati, desperately trying to steal the show.

'Rather tempting'

But I digress... The cars aren't the reason you are here so I will tell you instead about the Cowfold Horticultural Society flower and vegetable show.
While everything else at the fair was free, the society charged 50p entry to its marquee containing this year's entries of vegetables, fruit, flowers and flower arrangements.
It was rather tempting to see those strawberries and raspberries so beautifully presented but I managed to resist swiping one.

Rain damage

Given the horrendous weather, including a downpour on the morning of the show, competitors to the flower categories did marvellously to produce any entries at all.
Some of the roses were showing slight signs of rain damage but most were pristine. I did succumb to one temptation during my visit... the plant stall.
I came away with two modest ophiopogon 'black lilyturf' to fill a hole in my little border at home.
My only other purchase of the day was a generous chunk of coffee and walnut cake from the clubhouse canteen.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Gardens Visit: High Beeches

The weather this summer has meant that I have not spent much time visiting gardens – instead I have been occupied with helping my own plot survive the deluge. 
I've not been 100% successful.
Although the main rhododendron season is over, there is plenty still to see at HighBeeches so I made a dash around the gardens while there was a break in the clouds.

Majestic cornus 

The wild flower meadow is still in full bloom, along with swathes of persicaria, wild orchids and late flowering rhododendrons, magnolias and azaleas.
My highlight of the garden at this time of the year, however, is the majestic cornus kousa tree which is in full bloom and just starting to turn pink at the top. It is visible from right across the garden and, even after all the rain, is still beautiful.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Gardens visit: Bateman's

The National Trust property at Bateman's will soon be saying goodbye to its head gardener who is retiring this year after more than two decades tending and restoring the grounds of Rudyard Kipling's Sussex hideaway.
This year's weather has not been kind to any gardener in England but the gardens at Bateman's are still looking resplendent.
The apple orchard is faring 100% better than the battered trees in my own garden which, this year, have produced absolutely no fruit whatsoever.
The boughs at Bateman's are already heavy with young fruit, the vegetable gardens are stocked with lettuces, courgettes and soft fruit and the borders are filled with with the colour and smell of Sweet Williams, roses, lavender and honeysuckle.
As ever, I took some photos on my visit.