The English Garden May 2021

Enjoy over 60 beautiful gardens a year with The English Garden. Every issue features country, city, cottage and coastal gardens, with advice on how to recreate them. Be inspired by articles written by the country's top garden designers and discover the best plant varieties for your garden, chosen by expert nurserymen and plantspeople.

United Kingdom
Chelsea Magazine
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min

Alex Mitchell Alex’s books include Crops in Tight Spots, The Edible Balcony and Gardening on a Shoestring, and she regularly contributes to newspapers and magazines. She explores sustainable gardening on page 117. Catriona Gray Catriona is a freelance journalist and author based in Ireland, where she spends her time tending a seven-acre garden on the River Blackwater. She chats to Sophie Conran about her Wiltshire garden on page 30. Britt Willoughby Dyer After her photography degree, Britt embarked on a career as a travel PR photographer and now focuses on gardens, flora, nature and makers. Her photos of Sophie Conran’s garden are on page 30. IMAGES STEVE LAWTON PHOTOGRAPHY; NEIL HEPWORTH…

1 min

In a normal May, the Chelsea Flower Show would soon be opening its gates, an occasion that always makes more of us focus on our gardens. But while there won’t be a show this May, gardens will still be at the forefront of our minds, now more than ever, since the relaxation of lockdown allows us to gather outdoors. Having been our sanctuaries over the past year, gardens will now take centre stage as the setting for long-awaited reunions, al fresco food and convivial catch-ups. May has always been one of the most glorious months to spend in the garden anyway: burgeoning foliage in those fresh emerald-green shades of spring, the last of the tulips, the first alliums, a rising chorus of birdsong and the smell of mown grass in spring…

2 min
people to meet

Alec White The peony aficionado and owner of specialist nursery Primrose Hall on sharing his passion for these gorgeously flamboyant blooms My day begins with feeding the alpacas (producers of excellent manure) and a cup of tea. Daily jobs depend on the season, but I spend most of my time outdoors. I don’t have any horticultural qualifications because I began my career as a prosecutor, which was interesting and challenging – but my heart wasn’t in it. Our nursery sits on a lovely sloping site in Bedfordshire. We use few chemicals so our residents include skylarks, deer, toads, newts and swifts. The most exciting month is March, when pink buds push through the soil and the season’s promise lies ahead. By late spring we are incredibly busy, but every now and then you…

1 min
alec’s favourite gardens

Anglesey Abbey Cambridgeshire There’s interest all year round at Anglesey Abbey, starting, of course, with their display of over 270 snowdrop varieties from January. There’s always something new to see here. Tel: 01223 810080; RHS Wisley Surrey I’ve spent many an hour walking around Wisley and appreciating its wonders. Plus, they have lots of peonies, which is always a joy – they’ve been assessing them over the past few years in their Trials Field. Tel: 01483 224234;…

2 min
out & about

Museum of the Home reopens May 2021, Hoxton, London The Museum of the Home, formerly the Geffrye Museum, reopens to the public this May, following an £18.1 million, three-year renovation. Visitors can once again enjoy its award-winning Walled Herb Garden and explore Gardens Through Time – a series of gardens that show how our horticultural tastes have changed over the centuries, starting with the Tudor Knot Garden and finishing with the modern Green Roof. To find out more or make a donation to the ‘Sow a Seed’ campaign to raise funds for the replanting, visit Hay Festival online 26 May-6 June, online The Hay Festival brings readers and writers together online for its 34th spring edition this May, broadcasting hundreds of free live events from studios in Hay-on-Wye – the National Book Town of…

2 min
things to do

Give box A TRIM Wimbledon fortnight, Derby day and Chelsea Flower Show week are all purported to be the traditional time to prune box. My preference is whenever conditions are suitable in May or June. The exact date depends on other gardening commitments and your desired aesthetic: do you prefer your box to be crisp or do you like it a little looser? Much of the magic at Iford is provided by the contrast between the architecture and the planting. This contrast was perfectly summed up by Harold Peto himself: “Old buildings or fragments of masonry carry one’s mind back to the past in a way that a garden of flowers only, cannot do. Gardens that are too stony are equally unsatisfactory: it is the combination of the two in just proportions…