Archive for the ‘dorset life’ Category

Open garden!

It’s that time of year again — my mum is opening her garden again for the National Garden Scheme  ’Yellow Book’ on Sunday May 12th . It’s a fabulous garden on the side of Bulbarrow Hill (where Jack Rosenblum built his golf course…) and is looking particularly splendid this year.

Pop along between 2-5pm to ‘The Old Smithy’, Ibberton, nr Blandford Forum, Dorset Dt110EN. There will be tea in the village hall. Little S and I will be there. Do not ask us anything about plants. We will not know the answer. Though, Little S does like to try and eat dandelions.


Why it’s dangerous to meet me in a cake shop.

Mrs S, Little S

I have a small confession to make. You may have noticed that I’ve been rather tardy in the blogosphere over the last year and I do have a small excuse. Little S arrived in the world in the summer and has been keeping Mr S and I rather busy. He was very considerate and delayed his appearance until the first draft of ‘The Gallery of Vanished Husbands’ was (just about) finished. I’m still learning to balance motherhood with writing, and editing with games of peekaboo and the requisite cake eating.

On that note, I’ve had two coffee shop encounters in the last couple of months which have ended up with me explaining to the other (marginally baffled) cake-lovers why they must leave London and live amongst the cows in the land of ginger biscuits and sticky mud. So far, it’s been quite successful, charming couple no 1 have indeed moved here (well, Somerset, but it’s right on the border) and I’m still working on the others… If you spy me over the Battenberg, and you don’t want to be my new neighbour, just walk swiftly by. I can be very persuasive.

In case you want to be tempted, here is a view from a recent walk. It might be damp but it’s still beautiful…



Mr Rosenblum’s Open Garden!

garden at the Old Smithy

bog garden towards church

My mum, Carol, is a fantastic and passionate gardener, and it’s she who helps me with all horticultural references in my books. I love writing about nature but without a little nudge my peonies would be blooming alongside my primroses, and my lilac would be lovely in July. (Yes, I felt you gardeners shudder).

Sadie’s garden in ‘Mr R’ is inspired by  Carol’s (though Sadie is far more tolerant of weeds and don’t even ask what Carol does to the deer who dare to eat her roses). I’ve watched as over a decade my parents have turned a couple of fields into an idyllic English cottage garden. There is a riotous herbaceous border filled with giant alliums (mum calls them ‘space rockets’), poppies, hellebores, irises, lilies, roses, daisies, lupins and wigwams of Carol’s prized sweat-peas. The striped lawns roll down to a stream, and a bridge leads to a series of bog gardens and ponds — one white, one yellow, one blue — and paths lined with towering bamboo snake to a bench beneath a willow arbour.

Beyond the bog gardens and stream is a field full of grass and wild flowers through which my dad, Clive, has carefully mown a series of paths. There are plantings of young trees — fruit trees and hard wood — and at the bottom lies the grandchildren’s pride: a secluded tree house. And, I can’t possibly discuss the garden without mentioning my dad’s favourite part of the garden: the veg patch. During the summer we enjoy his courgette flower risotto, lettuce plucked straight from the ground as well as home grown strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, black-currants…

From the garden you can see both the thatched cottage which inspired Jack and Sadie’s home as well as Bulbarrow hill. If you have enough cider, you might even see the flags of Jack’s golf course or the tail of a woolly-pig.

For two days this summer Carol and Clive are opening the garden as part of the National Garden’s scheme and are featured in The Yellow Book (if you don’t know what the yellow book is, just make sure you say it in hushed and reverent tones).

‘The Old Smithy’ garden, Ibberton, Dorset,  is open on Sunday 27th of June between 2-5.30pm. Admission is £3 (children free) and all proceeds go to charity. There are plants for sale and cream teas will be served at Ibberton Village Hall. The postcode for your sat nav is DT11 0EN

I will be there collecting tickets and failing to answer questions about plants.

Leave a comment below if you need further details.