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These beautiful sculptures can be seen whilst walking around the gardens of Denmans. I took these photos on my recent visit.

In the 19th century this, along with several other buildings, was the home farm to an estate built for and owned by Lord Denman. The main house being Westergate House, which lies west of the garden across Denmans Lane.

In 1946 the late Mr and Mrs Robinson bought the house, garden and land which by then had become rundown. Westergate House was sold, and they converted two cottages in the garden which was to become their home.

Now the home to John Brookes, who in 2004 won an MBE for his services to garden design and services to horticulture.

Well worth a visit if you find yourself in the Arundel/Chichester area of West Sussex.


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A very common British fern with glossy undivided fronds which reproduces by spores rather than seed, the spores being seen on the underside of the frond. A good plant to introduce to a shady place in the garden, and especially love damp soil although not essential. Mine are happy growing through cracks in rockery stone.

'Gathering Ferns' Illustrated London News July 1st 1871

Ferns were very popular in Victorian times, a popularity which became a craze called Pteridomania, which sounds more like an illness to me!


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The hottest day of the year so far - 31 degrees. It may not sound a big deal to some of you living in the parts of the world you do, but for here in the UK, after the summer experienced so far, this temperature is positively tropical!

One of three plants basking in the summer sunshine today is Coreopsis grandiflora Mayfield Giant which can tolerate dry conditions, and flowers on and on, although does need deadheading to keep flowering to its maximum potential.

The first marigold of the year. These came out of a mixed pack of annuals given to me by a friend, sown late so only just starting to produce flowers. I always start the seeds off in pots and then transplant to where I choose in the garden. This year I have planted on into wooden troughs, facing east. When in containers water when necessary.

Nasturtium, one half of the variety St Clements, which is happy to be in dry soil. A lovely mix of yellow and orange, zingy citrus colours. Perfect for brightening up a salad and your day!


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One of my most favourite plants in the garden is Gaura lindheimeri, Whirling Butterflies.

Gaura means superb, and this plant truly is. Flowers appearing along delicate stems in succession throughout the summer. In fact it goes on for months and needs no deadheading!

This plant is great for filling gaps in preferably well-drained soil, although mine seems to like a little mulch around the roots. It is a native plant of Texas and Mexico, where it is plentiful. It needs a good space and in my garden I have allowed for a two foot spread and height, although this is only approximate.


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I knew when Summer breathed
Not by the flowers that wreathed
The sedge by the water's edge
Or gold
Of the wold
Or white and rose of the hedge
But because in a wooden box
In the window at Mrs Mocks
There were white-winged shuttlecocks.

By Barbara Euphan Todd


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Look at this blue sky, not one cloud in sight. This is what the weather is like today, here along the south coast of England, and breathing a sigh of relief can guess that maybe our long awaited summer has finally arrived.

The sunshine has been casting some really lovely shadows around the garden. What plants are these shadows being cast from? Just for fun leave me a comment with your guesses and in a few weeks or so I shall give you the answers.

Shadow number 1.

Shadow number 2.

Shadow number 3.


These chatty little birds have been down to the birdbath again this morning, the slightest movement from her indoors and they are off again!

I first noticed these small, bright and colourful birds around the garden a couple of years back, I can't say I had ever noticed them before. I first became aware of their song, almost a twinkle and very distinctive, and seemingly using our television aerial as a prominent perch.

These birds migrate to southern Europe, but many now stay due to our milder climate. I suspect my resident birds have nested in a neighbour's hawthorn tree, on numerous occasions seeing them flit in and out.

Their long thin beaks are perfect for extracting seed; thistle, teasel, dandelion and burdock, and in the summer months will also pick off small insects.

The goldfinches are loving the thistle seed, and have it all to themselves. For many months the feeder hung in a less manicured part of my garden, untouched, but is now two-thirds empty and will need a top-up soon.

A group of goldfinches is known as a charm and they certainly don't fail to live up to their collective noun.

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A photo of a dry teasel head taken from alongside the banks of the River Adur in West Sussex, whilst on a cycle ride a few months back. This plant is a biennial, but once introduced is assured to self-seed freely.

A fun thing to do is to make a teasel hedgehog, so click on the link to see how.


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These two small white butterflies stayed coupled together for quite a while, fluttering from plant to plant, with me in hot pursuit! I very much wanted to get a photo, having no memory of ever having been witness to this stage of the life cycle of a butterfly. I did feel a little guilty though, for not giving the pair any privacy!

I shall watch out for the next stage, those now fertilised eggs being laid on my nasturtium plants no doubt?


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Many-zoned Polypore? A widespread bracket fungus which grows on dead stumps and fallen branches of deciduous trees, often in tiers. Each bracket is semi-circular and the upper surface is zoned with concentric rings of different colours. It is found all year.

Taken on my visit to Ramster gardens at the end of May, after spotting it growing in damp, boggy conditions, close to the water's edge.


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From time to time in my garden I accidentially stumble upon a great plant and colour combination. Above you can see steely blue sea holly (eryngium), which is a warm colour, growing alongside vivid orange crocosmia, which is a cool colour, coming from opposite sides of the colour wheel, but equally winning one's attention.

A colour from one side forms a contrast with a colour on the opposite side of the colour wheel. The most intense contrasts are between colours that lie directly opposite one another, ie blue with orange.

The Gardener's Book of Colour is one of my favourites. Andrew Lawson with his artist's eye and scientist's training, shines a new light on using colour in the garden. Authoritative and accessible, this book will stimulate your imagination and put exciting new ideas within your grasp. It is a book no gardener will want to put down, which includes me!


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Currants, including red ones, have the highest content of fruit acid of all berries. They also are very high in vitamin C, vitamin E and fibre. They grow in grape-like clusters on sturdy perennial shrubs.

The two bushes have given a good crop this year, which is good, but I do find harvesting them a bit fiddly and time consuming, and always put off doing it until the point when I really do have to.

Now I have picked a couple of punnets full, I wonder what I can do with them?

(punnet) - a small, square basket used for holding soft-fruit.


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Not being an expert on amphibians I presume with its warty attire, this is a toad? Anyway whatever, it was unintentially disturbed when I shifted a log from a log pile.

I hope the poor chap recovered, it seemed to turn to stone when I was taking this photo. I suspect the playing dead, looking like concrete look, is a defence mechanism against predators.

Does anyone know?


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Did you notice poppies were voted the most favourite self-seeder in my June poll receiving 43% of the votes? Nigella (love in the mist) and verbena bonariensis came in joint second with 23%, and borage trailed in last with 10%. I have all these self-seeding in my garden, hence the choices!

Luckily I took a photo at Denmans of their colourful patch of poppies, because in my garden the ones that have flowered have now gone to seed. The flowers only last a day or so and with the winds we have been having they haven't stood much of a chance.

I was very kindly given this Arte Y Pico award recently by Gillian at Reflections in the Afternoon whose lovely blog shares my liking for the garden, illustrations and artwork. I would like to pass it on to Christy at Sweet Tidings. She has already received this award, but I am sure she won't mind receiving it again! If you haven't already made a visit, Christy has a lovely blog packed with crafting, cookery and lots more besides.


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LAVENDER - Loyalty, Love, Devotion

Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green;
When I am king, dilly dilly, you shall be queen.
Who told you that, dilly dilly, who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly dilly, that told me so.

Call up your men, dilly dilly, set them to work;
Some to the plough, dilly dilly, some to the cart;
Some to make hay, dilly dilly, some to thresh corn;
While you and I, dilly dilly, keep ourselves warm.

If I should die, dilly dilly, as well may hap;
Bury me deep, dilly dilly, under the tap;
Under the tap, dilly dilly, I'll tell you why;
That I may drink, dilly dilly, when I am dry.


Lavender's green, dilly dilly, Lavender's blue;
If you love me, dilly dilly, I will love you.
Let the birds sing, dilly dilly, and the lambs play;
We shall be safe, dilly dilly, Out of harm's way.

I love to dance, dilly dilly, I love to sing;
When I am queen, dilly dilly, you'll be my king.
Who told me so, dilly dilly, who told me so?
I told myself, dilly dilly, I told me so.

An English folk song dating back to at least 1849, and is said to be connected with the festival of Twelfth Night and the choosing of the king and the queen. I am not sure if the two additional verses above were part of the original rhyme?

In Provence in France, hives are taken to the fields of lavender in order to produce Lavender honey which is pale and gold with the flavour of the flower. The bee above hasn't had to be taken to the Lavender, it has invited itself!

I often find one of these around the garden, a bee hole. A home for ground nesting bees, usually in a dry and undisturbed part of the garden.


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Situated just off the A27 heading West, just past Fontwell racecourse, is Denmans, the home and garden of designer John Brookes. Above a magnificent Inula, the colour of sunshine which I haven't seen much of today!

Mainly laid to gravel with sweeping grass paths meandering through approximately four acres, most plants are left to their own devices and to self-seed, which gives the gardens a slightly untidy appearance is places, but this does make for a natural flow throughout the borders.

Can anyone tell me what the two plants above are? I am not familiar with them.

Home to many plants which provide good structure around the garden, like the impressive Acanthus above.

And home to lots of colourful budgerigars in the aviary too!