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HORTUS  127  (Autumn 2018)
HORTUS 127 (Autumn 2018)

Price (not including postage) 9.50

Extracts From The Current Issue
From the editor's introduction to HORTUS 127
We managed the summer drought quite well. A succession of frost- free nights throughout May foretold a bumper plum and apple harvest. But as June and July days became hotter and drier the plums failed to materialise and the apples - those that didn't fall prematurely - remained small. Only in the second half of August, with the arrival of a few prolonged showers and cooler days, did the remainers begin to swell.
The hydrangeas in Cricket Wood took a severe hammering. As our modestly acidic but obviously aluminium-laden soil gives us strong blue colours I was reluctant on all but the most challenging days to use our mains tap water, which is limey. Instead, buckets of water were ferried from the stream which, thankfully, never dried up entirely. Being shallow-rooted the hydrangeas, especially the youngsters, wilt quickly in hot weather, but those same close-to-the-surface roots are soon irrigated and as things stand now, I can count the failures on the fingers of one hand.

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From: 'Tradescant's Diary' by Hugh Johnson
1 June 2018: 'Three ne days and a thunderstorm'. I always wonder why this famous definition of an English summer is attributed to George II, with the specific date of 1730 attached. He became king of England (as well as Duke of Brunswick) in 1727. Both 1730 and 1731 were famously hot summers; they apparently held the record for summer heat until 2006 (July that year was the warmest month in Britain since records began) - and then August was one of the cloudiest and wettest. Are we on to something here? Is this what happened in 1730? Maybe the new king was commenting on the actual weather in a very English way - even if there were far more than three ne days. More to the point, though, is why does this happen (as it just has this week)?
Here is a meteorological answer: a heat wave warms the sea. A warmer sea evaporates faster. The wetter atmosphere generates areas of low pressure. Moist air rises, cools, and dumps as rain. Are three hot days enough? That week they were - but (later interjection) not this July. And in August we are still waiting for the thunderstorm.

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From 'Courtyard of Curiosities: The Garden Museum a Year After Renovation'
by Matt Collins
By comparison with the many well-seasoned and highly esteemed gardeners regularly passing through the Garden Museum in London, my horticultural career to date would be considered comparatively short. Yet it has been long enough already to have experienced, on more than one occasion, the uniquely personal event of a well- acquainted garden stripped back to bare earth and altogether re-modelled. It is a process rarely undertaken lightly, nor met with indifference - what binds us to landscapes, large or small, is far greater than affection for a particular set of plants. Memories of the first occasion remain tinged with melancholy, having, via an exchange of employers, witnessed the premature re-landscaping of a small estate garden in which I had worked for many years. The transition was slow and the parting drawn out, like watching a steady tide level structures of sand. A more recent experience, however, has been quite the reverse; a timely opportunity to re-evaluate the function of a unique space, and the potential it has to offer as a garden of interest, inspiration and refuge within a busy city.

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From 'Diana Athill: One Hundred Years in Gardens'
by Shira Lappin
Diana Athill, the renowned editor and writer who celebrated her one hundredth birthday last December, has always loved gardens, nature and the outdoors. Over her lifetime those gardens have taken very different forms, from the manicured lawns and kitchen garden of Ditchingham Hall in Norfolk, her grandparents' country pile where she grew up, to the sunny Primrose Hill garden in London that she tended after work in the 1960s and '70s, and now to the balcony she keeps with the help of a friend's son which, she admits, is 'chaste, but very charming'. A retired civil servant, he's found neutrality a difficult habit to break, and so he sticks to a palette of gentle mauves and whites. Diana describes her taste as for 'great big gorgeous brilliant colours. But I don't think he's going to allow me to have any. He thinks they're rather vulgar.'

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From'In the Green Room: David Hicks and The Grove'
by Angelica Gray
The gardening history of the late twentieth century has yet to be written but when it is, the garden made by interior designer David Hicks (1929-98), at his home in Oxfordshire, will stand out as extraordinary. In creating The Grove, Hicks, the conflicted show-man and maverick, took all his skills as an interior designer outside - and into the 'green room'. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of his death and he is due some attention, perhaps as part of the 'Smart Gardens' set of the '80s, as identified by Tim Richardson, but also for simultaneously going against the prevailing horticultural tide of Rosemary Verey et al. in almost completely banishing flowers from his green gardens.

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From 'A Marriage of Gardening and Art: LongHouse Reserve, New York'
by Jacqueline McKeon
I first visited LongHouse Reserve, a sixteen-acre sculpture garden tucked away in the woods of East Hampton, New York, while searching for a new wedding venue after my plans at a local vineyard fell through. The moment I turned up the winding gravel driveway lined with towering Japanese cedars (Cryptomeria japonica 'Yoshino') I fell under the garden's spell and immediately booked the property for my June wedding. Journalists often use the word 'wonderland' to describe LongHouse Reserve and one of our guests echoed this sentiment when she said that the gardens made her feel as if she had stepped into a Lewis Carroll story.

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From 'The Victorian Kitchen Garden: Part Three: Harry's Legacy'
by Sandra Lawrence

A quiet ceremony in June 2017 saw the ashes of the late Harry Dodson interred at the Blackmoor Estate, Hampshire. The event attracted little press coverage. Thirty years after The Victorian Kitchen Garden aired, the television series that had made Harry's name had become as obscure as the garden it celebrated. What had not been lost, however, was a modest mania the softly-spoken master-gardener and his tranquil revolution had begun way back in 1987; the multi-million-pound heritage gardening industry I believe The Victorian Kitchen Garden engendered.
The idea hadn't, of course, come out of a bubble. For some time 'lost gardens' had been slowly regenerating. Painshill Landscape Garden in Surrey, for example, with its extraordinary, overgrown temples, lakes and crystal grotto, had enjoyed its first new gasps of fresh air in the late 1960s. Deep in the Cotswolds the rococo garden at Painswick was emerging from the dust of its own rubble, while a joyful Victorian jumble of architectural salvage, once the eccentric Plantation Garden, was beginning to awake from slumber in a disused Norwich quarry. These delightful horticultural treasure troves, however, were all 'big gardens' - grand, exotic, formal, pleasure-grounds for the leisured classes. No one was interested in the humble kitchen garden. Supermarkets supplied Britain's ever- growing cities with picture-perfect veg own in from around the world; who wanted to be reminded of toil? The real thing - and real hunger - were just too recent.

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From 'The Delight in Common Objects: Gardens and Plants in the Life and Letters of
Mary Russell Mitford. Part One: A Precarious Beginning'
by Tim Longville
During her lifetime, Mary Russell Mitford was an enormously productive, popular and respected writer, publishing over several decades a positive tidal wave of poems, plays and stories, almost all of them well-received both by the critics and the public. In the century and a half since her death in 1855, though, she has largely been forgotten. Despite the admiration for her writing - and for her personality - expressed by many of the great names of the age (Coleridge, Wordsworth, Ruskin and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were all admirers of the writer who then became friends of the woman), much of that posthumous oblivion is understandable and deserved. Her poems are mostly fluent but unmemorable. Her plays are standard historical melodramas in the style of the day. And she herself freely confessed that imaginative fiction was not her forte. What was her forte were sketches of the people and places which made up the everyday world around her.

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'From the Home Patch'
by Tom Petherick
The first year we started gardening proper in the vegetable garden at Heligan was 1993. I remember it like it was yesterday because our guru Philip McMillan Browse set an early tone for a very gruelling future. Having decided on a four-course rotation for the giant vegetable garden, he decreed that Plot 1 of 4 (potatoes to be followed by winter brassicas in the same year) should be trench-dug with horse manure added once every four years.
At this news my colleague Mike Rundle (a farmer and grave digger from the days when graves were dug by hand and not mechanically) and I looked at Philip with incredulity as we realised that at the outside this task would probably take around a month. While we had little faith in our other two leaders, Tim Smit and John Nelson, to impart gardening wisdom, in Philip we trusted. He had grown up on the Scillies, where his father had been headmaster of the only school, on St Mary's, and from grading potatoes and gladioli bulbs had risen to become head of Wisley and in retirement the County Horticultural Officer of Cornwall.

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'From: Digging with the Duchess:In The Northlands' by Sam Llewellyn
'Sometimes,' said the Duchess, tweezing a tick out of her pale thin leg, 'you have to wonder about Scotland.'
I did not ask her what on earth she was talking about, for sometimes these pronouncements mean nothing, and sometimes they mean so much that the listener feels impelled to run oV and lock himself in the potting shed for a day or two to consider the ramifications. This time, though, it was easy to divine her meaning.
We were sitting on a crag overlooking Loch Coruisk on the Isle of Skye. Loch Coruisk is a place which looks as if the Creator had dug his fingers into an unsuspecting chunk of landscape and pulled it apart, allowing millions of chilly gallons of water to flow in from the slopes of the Cuillins, most saw-toothed of Britain's mountains. The Creator then appears to have dusted the boulders oV his hands and strolled back into the clouds, of which there is never any short- age in these regions. And there we were, contemplating the results, which with their crags and waterfalls would have given Caspar David Friedrich the creeps.

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Books Reviewed:
Flora of Middle-Earth: Plants of J. R. R. Tolkien's Legendarium
by Walter S. Judd
reviewed by E. Charles Nelson

The Orchid Hunter: A Young Botanist's Search for Happiness
by Leif Bersweden
reviewed by John Akeroyd

American Book Notes
by Judith B. Tankard:

Heroes of Horticulture: Americans Who Transformed the Landscape
by Barbara Paul Robinson

The Gardens of Bunny Mellon
by Linda Jane Holden

City Green: Public Gardens of New York
by Jane Garmey

Saving Central Park: A History and a Memoir
by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers

Seeking Eden: A Collection of Georgia's Historic Gardens
By Staci L. Catron and Mary Ann Eaddy

Desert Gardens of Steve Martino

by Caren Yglesias

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The Editor's Quarterly Book Bag:
The Story of the English Garden
by Ambra Edwards

Gardens and Gardening in Early Modern England and Wales
by Jill Francis

The Remarkable Case of Dr Ward & Other Amazing Gardening Innovations
by Abigail Willis

The Generous Gardener: Private Paradises Shared
by Caroline Donald

Trees in Art
by Charles Watkins

Woodland Gardening
By Kenneth Cox

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HORTUS 128 (Winter 2018) issue is currently in production

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