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.


6 Responses to “Mr Rosenblum’s Open Garden!”

  1. Janet Sutton says:

    Hi Natasha. I was just looking at your site to see if there is another book in the offing (not that I’m trying to rush you!). I adored Mr Rosenblum… and your publishers sent me a copy of The Novel in the Viola which was simply wonderful. I do hope there is something looming…!

    I thought I might come to this event (I live in Somerset) but alas, it must have been 27 May not 27 June as stated as 27 June is in two day’s time – a Wednesday. I hope the day went well. 🙂

    Happy writing.

  2. Maudie Shackleford says:

    Natasha, Occassionally one comes accross a GEM, (if one is lucky!).
    Mr. Rosenblum’s List was such a gem. Many thanks!

  3. kimberly says:

    The House at Tyneford is the best novel I have read in years.. of course I was crying at the end.. and when I read the author notes i was surprised to see it was woven with truth… that makes it even better. I am recommending it to all my friends here in Kansas USA… sorry I hadnt read it before my very short trip to London this past June….

  4. Christine says:

    ‘The novel in the viola’ what a wonderful story I could not put the book down!
    and of course tearful. So descriptive, beautiful!
    Have recommended it to my library group!

  5. Kristian says:

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  6. Irving Silver says:

    Reading Mr. Rosenblum was a great treat for me last summer while I spent a week with my daughter and her family at a cottage on the Maine coast.

    One thing puzzles me though: the use of Yiddish by German emigrants. My impression has long been that German Jews spoke, even within the household, in German. Dialects usually only survive among remote enclaves. My parents, for example, came from rural Poland, which might be called the heartland of Yiddish until the Holocaust.

    It may be that there was a class distinction between those German Jews whose families had been established over centuries and more recent immigrants from the East, who mostly would have been poorer and more easily identified as a minority group. I do recall, as a student in Cologne at the beginning of the 1960s, that occasional Yiddish words and expressions found their way into items in the local newspapers (tzooris, etc.). I also read somewhere that Yiddish was adopted by members of the underworld as a way of communicating among themselves in a way that the police could not understand.

    Thanks for writing that book.

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