If you are in New Zealand and have Sky, don’t miss Alan’s Garden Secrets on the Living Channel at 4.30pm on Sundays (rescreened at 8am on Monday). It is the inimitable Alan Titchmarsh, a doyen of British gardening. Last Sunday he was tracing the history of seventeenth century English gardening – Tudor England. Buxus hedging, knot gardens, parterres and all that. It was absolutely fascinating, at least the first half was. It fell away a bit in the last section. But it gave much food for thought and has stimulated quite a bit of conversation here since. I am wondering whether the Waikato readers will be ready for some thoughts on how we have taken buxus hedging and suburbanised it. The new look garden pages get launched at the start of September and I will be back into regular, weekly contributions.
We have a profound respect for Alan Titchmarsh who has a wealth of experience. Coming up this Sunday is his interpretation of eighteenth century gardening and we will be watching it avidly. But it should come with a warning. Titchmarsh’s style is very much of the people – he is an unpretentious Yorkshireman. Unfortunately, in this series, that translates into little DIY segments. The thyme knot garden was bad enough, but the trompe l’oeil installation plumbed hitherto unsuspected depths of naffdom. Mark and I looked at each other in utter disbelief and laughed. What else could we do? Goodness knows whose idea it was to intersperse an otherwise excellent programme with demonstrations which would be more fitting to our local Fringe Garden Festival. When the credits rolled at the end, we realised that these demonstrations were taking place in the Old Vicarage Garden in Norfolk, which we have visited. We are now wondering if they left Alan’s trompe l’oeil in place after filming….
It was this TV show which spawned three tweets. If you don’t follow Twitter, the format may confuse you (the essence of Twitter is brevity). If you do follow Twitter, I tweetie under the name of Tikorangi.
#Gardenornamentation 1: If you can’t afford the real thing, you are better off with nothing (repro classical best avoided).
#Gardenornamentation 2: Anything armless or white – best shunned I think.
#Gardenornamentation 3: Hot trend prediction: obelisks. You too can make your garden look like everybody else’s. Just need a focal obelisk.
On the gardening front, a week of fine weather is helping the magnolias but we are still nowhere near peak display yet. The snow and frost hit the early varieties badly but the mid season varieties are untouched. We are open as usual for plant sales on Fridays and Saturdays, though we are around most times on other days. The garden is now open for the season but wait another week or two if you want to see a spectacular magnolia display. However, the daffodils, Hippeastrum aulicum, reticulata camellias, Prunus campanulata (complete with masses of tui) and early azaleas are all looking lovely.