Noel Kingsbury

Privacy, greed and gardens

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There are no photographs heading this post, because there are NO PHOTOGRAPHS. The whole point of this post is that there aren’t any. Some years ago I was interviewing a garden design colleague, a well-known one, who was complaining bitterly about how he was increasingly finding that clients would not let him have ‘his’ gardens[...]

Chelsea Flower Show – a view from the past

Diarmuid Gavin's folly. The red things are Chelsea Pensioners, soldiers who have risked life for King and Country who are now being humiliated for some cheap publicity, Some things never change. I need a stiff whisky and soda after all this!

“Name’s Fossington-Williams, Sir. John Fossington-Williams. I’m dead, died in 1957, but in my time I was a great lover of the Chelsea Flower Show, so every now and again my ghost goes back to have a look, see what’s changed, what hasn’t changed etc. Here’s what I’ve got to say about the show this year.”[...]

RIGHT UP THERE – INVEREWE

Rhododendron 'Colonel Rogers'. Yes that's right, COLONEL Rogers. A military chap. One wonders what sort of a fellow he was to have this named after him. I think my mother used to have a bathing cap a bit like this.

This is one of those really famous gardens, but in such a remote location that you don’t just drop in. Fifty miles from the nearest supermarket, inform my hosts, as if this is now the definition of distance from civilization or maybe survival. Inverewe on the north-west coast of Scotland is famous as a ‘sub-tropical’[...]

From the seventeenth century

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Godolphin House in Cornwall, is a relatively recent National Trust acquisition. A great house until the 17th century when the money began to run out, it never got ‘modernized’ by Capability Brown or his cohorts, so retains old formal features. Previous owners popped in the old rose bush and tree peony but little else, or[...]