The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Somerset Edition

Category: gardening

7 cool things to do

16 Mar 2017

1920s Jazz Age: Fashion & Photographs, The American Museum in Britain, Claverton, nr Bath, Sat 18 March-Sun 29 Oct

Flapper dresses, gold lame coats and lots of other garb from Roaring Twenties in the US of A on display (you can even try some stuff on and take a selfie), with candid photos of early 20th century celebrity by James Abbe. Visit this Saturday and you can learn to dance the Charleston – and if you dress in 1920s costume you’ll get free entry.

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Pinch, prune, chop and pot

1 May 2016

Over in Chard in south Somerset, Forde Abbey‘s Tulip Festival is in full bloom until 15 May. It’s incredible to think that during the 17th century’s Dutch ‘tulip mania’, a single bulb was valued at roughly the same price as a luxurious house in Amsterdam *looks wishfully out of the window at three slightly droopy, red tulips*.

As well as admiring the floral attributes of  the 30-acres of landscaped grounds, you can visit parts of the house (a Cistercian monastery turned family home) and the small but excellent garden nursery, which sells unusual plants including recently introduced species and cultivars, most of which are grown on site.

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April’s must-do garden jobs

5 Apr 2016

April’s list of essential gardening jobs come from Jess Evans, who heads up the team at the small but perfectly formed National Trust’s Tintinhull Garden just outside Yeovil. There’s a beautiful 17th century hamstone manor house (closed to the public except for two small rooms, although you can rent the whole house as a holiday let – swoon) but it’s the five formal courtyard gardens and kitchen garden created by Phyllis Reiss in the 1930s that people come to see.

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If you only do 5 things in the garden this march….

13 Mar 2016

I’m not the kind of gardener to tend the soil in freezing December, or do some magnificently forward-planning pruning. But when the daffs come out and the stilettos no longer sink into the grass like it’s quicksand, I tip toe out in the garden with my spade, hoe and rake, place them neatly in a row and then *cough*, have a nice long coffee and almond croissant in the sunshine. Oh come on, I can’t be the only one!

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Tips for instant colour in a February garden

14 Feb 2016

Sadly, this is not my garden. I forgot to put my garden to bed at the end of last year and it’s in a bit of a sorry state now: a jungle of dead stalks, a thick layer of leaves turning to mulch (but that’s good, right?) and a few green shoots (could they be daffs?) poking up through the soil. I’ve got the secateurs set to chop down the jungle but I need colour in the garden and I need it now, so: what to plant for instant horticultural gratification?

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Somerset Edition