Mundon Church

Its picture appears on the hanging sign, but the church is nowhere to be found within the village. There are no directions or signposts pointing the way. This beautiful rustic little church is easily overlooked. But then that’s part of its charm. To find it you must go on a pilgrimage. Continue reading “Mundon Church”

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Greensted Church

From Chipping Ongar we followed the Essex Way, a long straight track heading west out of town through fields of barley, towards a distant dust storm. The path was fragrant with chamomile under our feet, and luckily, by the time we reached it, the combine harvester had stopped to let us pass. Continue reading “Greensted Church”

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Comfrey & Coggeshall Grange Barn

The plan was to take a circular walk from Kelvedon to Coggeshall and back again via Feering through gentle Essex farming countryside. That was the promise of the guidebook, Walks In The Country Near London, but it had slept on our bookshelf since 2003 and it needed waking up. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say we needed waking up, because it seemed like we stumbled and fell at the first hurdle. Continue reading “Comfrey & Coggeshall Grange Barn”

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Hatfield & The North

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This post is for Hank & Paula, friends from the USA who have visited London so many times I think they know it better than we do. They really should be showing us the sights but instead we go out of town for a change. Last time we went to the Henry Moore Foundation at Much Hadham so it seemed appropriate that this time we should meet by his Large Spindle Piece outside King’s Cross station. Continue reading “Hatfield & The North”

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A September Garden

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Every time I buy a plant I save the label, if there is one. A recent search for a particular label spurred me to lay the entire contents of my label box out on the lawn. Seven years of gardening has furnished the plot with over 170-plus plants – not including the ones that didn’t come with a label, or boxes of seasonal bedding plants. Continue reading “A September Garden”

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An August Garden

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Bees and butterflies love Verbena bonariensis, which is at its floriferous peak right now. I rescued two large pots of it from B&Q a few months ago – they were sitting atop a trolley and hadn’t been watered for probably a week. They were brown and crispy, but I could see that there was a little life left in them at the base. They were marked down to fifty pence, so I took a gamble and parted with a pound. I took them home, chopped all the foliage off to the base, and stood them in a bucket of water. Now they are huge plants, waving about in the breeze with purple puffs of flowers atop 5ft high stems. I’ve planted one in the border but haven’t decided what to do with the other one. Maybe it’ll stay in a pot, to be moved about the garden wherever there is a stage for dancing flowers. Continue reading “An August Garden”

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A July Garden

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I have three of Gunnera tinctoria. It’s the little brother of Gunnera manicata (those huge waterside plants you can stand underneath at posh gardens) – but it’s still plenty big enough for a small suburban garden with 3ft wide leaves. I used to have only one but repotting gave me the chance to sneak off a couple of sideshoots for propagation. Continue reading “A July Garden”

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A June Garden

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Where the month of May was perfumed with hawthorn and cow parsley, so I associate June with the smells of rowan, elder, privet and pyracantha blossom. In the garden, the honeysuckles have been in bloom for the last two weeks, and on a hot humid evening the perfume is heady – almost overpowering. In contrast my rose ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ smells at its best early in the morning, with a delicious perfume of peach and orange. So I go out for a whiff first thing before I go off to work. Continue reading “A June Garden”

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