Tag Archives: National Trust

End of month view – yearly round up 2018


As last year, rather than solely a December view, I’ve put together a round up of the whole year.

I struggled with the Isle of Wight garden this year.  There were a number of reasons – tricky weather (miserable early on and then so hot and very dry over the summer), too much time in London, too much work and lastly, the removal of the decking, which meant nowhere to sit out and made trying to keep the garden looking good all feel a bit pointless!

However, there were still highlights, and spring (above) was one of them.



Things were still ok in May IMG_4064

but by June everything was very parched,DSC01071

with only the Mediterranean plants enjoying themselves.



The dry weather meant all my dahlias were disappointing, and finished early, with even the stalwart ‘Happy Single Dates’ not happy for long.


Conversely, the Zinnias loved the weather, and filled out the Grass Beds with lots of pickable blooms.


Again, as last year, I had many pots IMG_3910

but by summer many were struggling in the drought, so I was glad a number of them were so large!IMG_4255



On the edibles front the only new variety I tried was the French Bean ‘Masterpiece’ which did well and was very tasty.  Otherwise we enjoyed the usual runner beans, courgettes, tomatoes, ‘Slim Jim’ aubergines, Ratte and Pink Fir Apple Potatoes and raspberries and strawberries.IMG_4275

I continued to enjoy joining in with Cathy’s wonderfully friendly and supportive ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme, albeit a bit haphazardly.






I also posted the odd photo from regular walks on the National Trust’s St Helens Duver, directly opposite the house.IMG_3778

IMG_4464 (2)



As in previous years I was lucky enough to do plenty of garden visiting, both near and far – Villa Cimbrone on the Amalfi Coast DSC01001

and An Cala in Scotland in May,IMG_3777

The High Line, in New York,IMG_3911

Petersham Nurseries andIMG_4018

Kew Gardens (including the newly re-opened Temperate House) in June,IMG_4061

Castle House (just up the road) in August,IMG_4557

Church Gardens in Harefield, Middlesex in OctoberIMG_4557

and Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, still looking fabulous in November.IMG_5203

And lastly, the biggest development this year, was the purchase of a tiny terraced house back in Richmond, and the transformation of the garden from thisHF304_170626S_IMG_09

to this



Thank you so much for continuing to support Duver Diary and sharing your likes and comments.  They really are very much appreciated, even if I don’t always find time to respond.

I hope I can carry on sharing my ramblings and photos next year, and that you’ll all come along for the ride!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2019.

Duver dreaming


Talk about ships that pass in the night – I returned from New York, only for the OH to turn around and head to Toronto!

Today finally saw us breakfasting and dog walking together for the first time in a fortnight – and to celebrate here he is, possibly showing his best side 😉

As many of you know, this blog is named after the National Trust area of land opposite our house called St Helens Duver (pronounced ‘duvver’).  It’s the location for our daily walk with Nimbus, our labradoodle.IMG_4103

Slightly earlier in the year the duver is smothered in sea thrift Armeria maritima.  (First blogged about here four years ago).  It’s a little past its best now, but you get the idea.IMG_4100

Today, however, it felt like all the other wild flowers had joined the thrift, and appeared together – foxglovesIMG_4107

evening primrose, Oenothera biennis,IMG_4108

dog rosesIMG_4115

and sea holly Eryngium maritimum.IMG_4111

Allwere looking magnificent in today’s glorious sunshine.  What a perfect day!

Duver sunshine


I’ve blogged numerous times about the St Helens Duver – the National Trust owned area of heathland opposite where we live – but not recently.  (For a while I contributed regularly to a wildflower meme, and you can see the posts by selecting the ‘Wildflower Wednesday’ category).

Sunday’s sunshine, after Saturday’s grey, was such a treat I’m taking you on the usual circuit and sharing a few wild flowers along the way.

These hips are so fabulous I’d be tempted to pick a few, but they’re on a bramble clad bank between the path and the road and therefore completely inaccessible.  I’ll just have to admire from a distance. IMG_3686

Further down the path, looking right towards the Solent I just caught this yacht heading out,

whilst looking the other way, I spied a number of glowing Iris foetidissima seed heads.IMG_3691

At the bottom of the path, looking back across Bembridge Harbour, you can see over to Brading Haven yacht club.  There was plenty of activity there today, but rather them than me.

(I did actually sail a lot in my twenties, including racing back from Lisbon to Southampton, and from Aarhus in Denmark across the North Sea and round the top of Scotland to the Clyde.  These days I’d generally rather be on dry land, but seeing the jolly sails on such a beautiful day did start to make me wonder….)

The grassland above is one of the sites of the fantastic drifts of sea thrift Armeria maritima during May, which I’ve blogged about here.  There are still a few clinging on,IMG_3694

together with the odd chamomile – I think this is Chamaemelum nobile.IMG_3693

Rounding the corner and onto the beach I saw the dinghies has beaten me there!IMG_3707

And, while I’m diverging from the flowers, just thought I’d share a picture of Nimbus, in honour of his upcoming ninth birthday.  IMG_3708

And finally, also nothing to do with flowers, anyone else devastated by tonight’s Strictly outcome?

Wonderful Woolbeding


Another off island adventure and so another excuse for a garden visit, this time to the National Trust Woolbeding Gardens near Midhurst in West Sussex.


I knew we’d be coming down the A3 and would therefore be close by, but I also remembered the garden had limited opening times.  Amazingly, it turned out the day we were passing (last Friday) happened to be the last open day of the year!  The garden is now closed until next spring, when it will reopen, as before, on Thursdays and Fridays only.

As you arrive you’re welcomed by this wonderful formal water garden, designed by the Bannermans (of whom more later), which sets the scene for what is clearly going to be quite some garden.


The Woolbeding Estate of over 1,000 acres was given to the National Trust by the Lascelles family in 1957, with 26 acres devoted to the gardens.  The house, below, is still in private ownership, and not open, but there are a whole range of similarly beautiful stone outbuildings and walls which help make the garden so special.img_1672

In 1972 Woolbeding was leased to Simon Sainsbury, and subsequently his partner Stewart Grimshaw, who developed it into the wonderful garden it is today.  Initially they focussed on the area closest to the house and, with the help of American garden designer Lanning Roper, they remodelled with ‘clear structure, elegance and restraint’, creating a series of garden rooms.

Looking west from the house are two herbaceous borders, still exhibiting plenty of colour in cool blues and purples.img_1674img_1675img_1677

Through the immaculate hedging to the hotter, more exotic feeling greenhouse gardenimg_1678img_1679



And into the greenhouse, where they still had a voracious Ipom0ea flowering.img_1683


Crossing back across the herbaceous borders and into the herb garden, with immaculate trained apples.img_1688img_1689img_1690

Through to the orangery with views of a beautiful pool.



There are stunning pots throughout the garden, including this one, with Anisodontea and matching Salvia, see below.img_1698

On to the veg area, which was huge, and, in keeping with the rest of the garden, immaculate.img_1700

I had to admire these Tromboncino (which I’d heard Charlotte Mendelson discussing in her hilarious interview with Jenny Murray on Thursday’s Women’s Hour.  I’m definitely going to read her new book ‘Rhapsody in Green‘)


On to the well garden, where I admired this fabulous combination.img_1691


Away from the garden rooms the William Pye sculpture dominates.  I rather like it but the OH definitely didn’t.img_1673

Walking round the church and south takes you past this magnificent Cedarimg_1715img_1725

and the charming Tulip Folly.  The folly has been built on the site of a 100ft tulip tree.  It was felled by the great storm of October 1987 and apparently only missed the house by a couple of feet.img_1714

A further stroll takes you to the rather separate ‘Pleasure Gardens’ which were created later with the help of Julian and Isabel Bannerman.  (Coincidentally there was an interesting article in the Telegraph on the Bannermans this Saturday).

Here there is a ruined chapel, a rustic hermit’s hut,img_1718

wonderful bordered path leading toimg_1719

a glowing yellow bridge.img_1724

Back towards the exit you can’t help but admire all the wonderful structures – this gorgeous curved wall by the churchimg_1712

living buttresses,


lovely stone buildings and attractive, classy furniture.img_1732

This really was a stunning garden.  So much structure which lent a real sense of discovery.  The formal garden isn’t that huge but as each area is so different it feels more substantial.

This has definitely moved straight into my top 5 gardens and I can’t wait to return in the spring.  Thanks National Trust and Woolbeding.  I’ll be back.


Oh and PS can someone tell me what this is please?  It was a good 6ft tall.img_1680