Tag Archives: Duver

End of month view – yearly round up 2017


I’ve started my Yearly Round up with a photo of the garden in June as June saw me coordinating the St Helens Secret Gardens event (the garden opening of a dozen local gardens in aid of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance) for the first time.

I was so relieved and delighted all went smoothly – largely due to the fabulous weather.  The event is only every other year so I can put my feet up this year!

As ever, there were successes and failures in the garden, with a really annoying number of bulbs, particularly tulips, lost to some nibbling critter.  I like to think it might be one of our beautiful red squirrels as at least that means they were lost to a good cause!  However, there were also successes, and I’ve shared some favourite garden photos below:






I added a new tree to the garden – Albizia julibrissin ‘Ombrella,’

had fun with pots



and tried new edibles in the greenhouse – Pepper ‘Tequilla’ and


Aubergine ‘Slim Jim.’


I also continued creating various vases, both for Cathy’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme IMG_2342





as well as to take to work with me.IMG_2237

I shared a few more photos taken on the daily dog walk on the St Helens Duver –  the National Trust land opposite where we live that gives this blog its name.img_1532-1


And also shared plenty of garden visit photos, including, in March, Le Jardin de Secret


and Jardin Majorelle, both in Marrakech,dsc00100

in May, Gravetye Manor,IMG_2462

and Parham House and Gardens.


In June, The Old Rectory Gardens, open for the NGS on the Isle of Wight

In September, Hauser and Wirth in Somerset

and in October, a couple of gardens on the Cote d’Azur – Jardin Exotique d’Eze

and Ville Ephrussi de Rothschild.

On the learning front, I finished the second year of my Level 3 Certificate in Garden and Planting Design course at Capel Manor College.  I toyed with the idea of embarking on the RHS2 course but I was concerned it would all be a bit ‘schooly’ with little of the lovely gardening chat we had on the design course, so instead I took a six week photography evening class at the Bishopsgate Institute.  However, the learning highlight must have been my crafty visit to the reopened Garden Museum where I created my festive robin.image

So, another busy year chez Duver Diary – to be honest, sometimes rather too busy, and blogging has increasingly taken a back seat on occasions since I went back to working full time in February, but I still enjoy capturing and sharing photos both of my garden and others, and hope I can continue in 2018.

Thank you so much for supporting Duver Diary and sharing your likes and comments.  They are such delight when work – or the wider world – are getting me down!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2018.

Kissing’s in season when gorse is in bloom

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My granny (unlike my mother) wasn’t known for her horticultural expertise, but she did teach me the saying above.  As a consequence, I spend a lot of time checking the state of the Duver’s gorse to ensure kissing remains a la mode, and I’m cheered to report that you can all ‘buss on’ (although preferably not on the bus).

Following last week’s foray to the cosseted microclimate of Ventnor’s Undercliff, I thought I’d see what was flowering in the more ‘real’ world of St Helen’s Duver.*

And the answer is that the Duver’s flora is almost as cheering as Ventnor’s, albeit a little less obvious.  Firstly, from the R88 footpath down to the Duver, the banks are smothered with a fresh, zingy green (almost as cheering as the new growth of Alchemilla mollis, but less frilly), accompanied occasionally by a rather dull flower (no offence).

The plant is Petasites Fragens, (because this is about me getting an education too).  The common name of a related species, Petasites hydridus, is ‘Butterbur’ apparently due to the fact that the leaves used to wrap butter before the advent of fridges.  I don’t think I could really justify that name for these leaves, unless you’re talking the sort of butter pat you get with your scone.

Also near the top was a rather chewed violet as well as small, low growing pink flower that I’m struggling to identify.  Help please!

And to the right of the path you can see the first few heads of wild garlic or Ramsons (Allium ursinum).  Later in the spring the smell pervades the whole path with a Gallic perfume.

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And lastly, back to the gorse where we started.  There are many bushes on the Duver which happily withstand the windswept site.  Gorse (Ulex europaeus) is a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae), which makes sense when you look at the flower shape.  The flowers are apparently edible, but can’t say I’ve tried.  I think I’d rather stick to the garlic, but then what about the kissing?


  • Let’s be honest, not much, but I did finish cleaning the greenhouse
  • And I found another packet of Sweet Peas – Matucana, so I’ve popped them in.

 * “Duver” (rhymes with cover, not hoover) is Isle of Wight dialect for an area of sand dunes.  St Helen’s Duver is the largest surviving duver on the island.

There was a (men only) nine hole golf course on this site from 1882 which became the ‘Royal’ Isle of Wight Golf Club in 1883 when Edward, Victoria’s eldest son, later Edward VII, became a member.  Later, in the 1930’s, David Niven was a member.

In 1961 the few remaining members decided to present the land to the National Trust, with the land to be kept as an open space for all time.

With thanks to the National Trust for this information.  See full article here.