July ramblings


It barely seems five minutes since I was writing about June! This month, it’s mostly about gardens – my own, Goodnestone, Hidcote and Kiftsgate – as well as the seaside. I started the month killing most of a day in Canterbury while I waited for my car to be serviced. Wandering around the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge (always a great place to dip into) I found the fascinating collection of doll’s house furniture – I so loved my doll’s house when I was small. I spent the rest of the glorious day in Westgate Gardens down by the river, where the borders would be the envy of any grand garden – very inspirational planting. I also read most of The Salt Path, by Raynor Winn – finishing it off when I got home!

Canterbury 1

That weekend, I joined a hen party for my daughter-in-law-to-be, in London – a chocolate workshop (helped along by prosecco and a chocolate martini) followed by a Middle Eastern meal with a belly dancing accompaniment… I was very pleased with my chocolates – delicious if not exactly professional! I caught the train home before the clubbing began…

My garden at home was bursting with roses – the striking pink one is in the car park border, the white one studded with salvia is at the back. And for the first time ever, I managed to grow some sweet peas.

Goodnestone was looking lovely as ever, the lavender a particular highlight on this visit, taken in with friends before we headed for Sandwich Folk Festival.

Goodnestone lavender

I visited my sister and her husband in Cheltenham later in the month and we went to Hidcote and Kiftsgate gardens, right beside each other in the Cotswolds. They are both very beautiful in their own ways – Hidcote full of different garden rooms, each with their own characters, borders as wide as some gardens I have owned!

Hidcote tree

Kiftsgate was on a smaller scale, but with the drama of a great slope sweeping down to a half-moon pool – with a view. And the recent addition of a new pool set within high yew hedges, the pool black-painted and holding leaf sculptures that are actually fountains.

Kiftsgate fountain

Back home, with my daughter visiting, it was time to enjoy the sea breezes at the coast, paddling off the old hovercraft slipway in Pegwell Bay, and strolling along to the pier in Deal. The shingle beach at Walmer (top) was a delight for another day in the month.

Deal sea

The sun was sulking when I was back in London looking after Ellis for 48 hours, solo for the first time. He was as delightful as ever, even if he did decide to hide his shoes causing consternation when we needed to go out! The first time he luckily didn’t need to walk anywhere, the second time I searched everywhere and – just as I was about to give up and abandon the trip to the park – I spotted the missing sandal (on top of a radiator, behind the dining table…).