May ramblings

Salutation opener

I’m writing this on a June day, so wet and cool that I’m trying to decide whether I can justify putting the heating back on! I can see from my photos that May, too, was a mixed month, weatherwise. But when the sun did come out, it made the garden put on a growth spurt.

I paid a visit to Godinton House near Ashford – it’s a house with a fascinating story, set in lovely parkland with formal and informal planting. Had to dodge the showers, though.

I managed to fit in some grandson time with Ellis in London on my way up to the midlands for a catch up with long-standing friends, before heading further north to Harrogate for a couple of days at the invitation of another friend. There was time for a couple of country walks and a visit to Harlow Carr gardens, before an evening spent chatting to her lovely book group.

Harrogate book club

Two days later, I was back home to give another talk – this time in the imposing setting of the Jury Room in Sandwich Guildhall – on the part played by gardens and the landscape in my writing.

Still on the subject of writing, I completed Book Five and had a little break from it before starting the edits – the sun was shining for a visit to Dane John Gardens in Canterbury.

The sun kindly stayed out for a weekend visitor – we headed to the Salutation gardens (top), where we saw bronze iris (am I imagining that it was this year’s Chelsea Flower Show thing?) And there was an amazing dragonfly – a yellow one – which I’m told is a broad-bodied chaser. At first I thought it was a giant hornet! Apparently it’s pretty common and the males turn a chalky blue colour (I’ve definitely seen them at the pond in Goodnestone Gardens).

The next day found us in Margate where there was a Mods festival to see as well as the Turner Contemporary, and the day after that we took a trip to Deal.

It was Ramsgate harbour on Bank holiday Monday, the Belle Vue hotel and then a clifftop walk in Pegwell Bay where sainfoin (a plant I haven’t seen in a while) was plentiful on the chalky soil.


At the end of the month, the foxgloves were flourishing and the garden was having a purple phase.

And another trip to the Salutation gardens produced super-sized poppies and more purple, in the form of a rather spectacular iris.