The only crop that has not really done well for us summer is basil, it looked great when we started summer but with the wettest August since 1917 it has not done a great deal, not all of it died only about half of it did. We have had a week of good weather but it maybe that it has come a little too late for the basil to turn around, it will have to be kale pesto this autumn I think. I have mixed feelings about basil really anyway, I do find it can be too strong raw in food, it works well as pesto and maybe that is it for me.




It is not often that I open a magazine and want to be featured in it but I felt this about a magazine called ‘Salon’, it is an almost perfect thing, the only problem is that I can not read German. . We had a journalist and photographer here on the weekend covering the dog show from Germany, they gave me a copy of this magazine and now I just hope they will do something with me in it. The photo for this blog is taken from the inside and back cover, what joy.



Sometimes you need to stand back and just have a good look at the garden and see what went wrong and what you can do better the next season. Today I looked over the garden. Mrs Next-door had to have a cherry picker in to carry out some work on the house, the man asked if we would like a ride. So up we went, it was a great chance to get some photos and have a look at the layout of the garden.  The vegetable garden looked great from the height we got to, well the whole garden looked great.


Dog show

It is that time of the year for my two little dogs, the Great Dixter Dachsi show is going to be here on Sunday. Conifer enjoys it for the first hour and then just wants to hide away from it all. I am never sure how many dogs we are going to have till they turn up. They say we are going to have great weather so that is a help and with Thomas on the BBQ all should be fine. I will just have to rest my two before then and try and get a little weight off Conifer and myself, we are all on show really.


Memphis, Tennessee

Fergus and I are going to Memphis on the 13th of October to give two talks each at a garden called Dixon. It is not my first visit there and I am sure will not be my last if Linda Smith has anything to do with it. Last night I started to think about my two talks and how best set them out, I have now planned both and started to put together my talk on vegetable gardening. The photos I take for this blog are a great help. The other talk I will give will be on the history of Great Dixter House and the Lloyd’s.



When I woke up this morning I had a plan of what the pumpkin patch was going to look like at the end of the day.  I am sorry to say it did not happen because the farm that has horse poo in bags out the front did not have any today. After bringing the pumpkins in and clearing the area I was not able to dig in a large amount of poo. I am happy with how each year the soil gets better but I am going to bring it to a new level this year so next year I will grow bigger pumpkins than Chris next-door.


Big boys

I have now cut the pumpkins and got them into the house. I am so pleased with them but I have four big boys that I am over the moon with, and because I love the so much I have put them on the windowsill outside my bedroom so that when I walk out every morning they will be the first things that I will see and enjoy. The rest will go on a bathroom floor to dry out and then I will start to eat them.



It is a great honour for me to be in the October issue of NZ House and Gardens. It has come at a very interesting time for me, I have been thinking a lot about New Zealand and my past this last week or so. I read that my boarding school is going to be knocked down and a new town is going to go up in its place, Wesley College was my home for seven years, it was a great time in my life and I have to say I feel a little sad about this news. Not that I have gone back for old boys day but if the school was in a different place I would not go, it would not be the same. We humans like our past to stay how it was in case we want to revisit it.



I have now grown the best carrots that I have even grown and it was great to see just how good they are today when we started to get them out of the ground. It is a carrot called ‘Danvers’, a nickname given to me by Ben here at GD, that is why I wanted to grow them. I gave him the first one. Kyle got me the seed from ‘The natural Gardening Company’. Kyle, I will be ordering the seed again it does very well for us.


Perfect day

It is almost two weeks since I had a whole day to spend up in the vegetable garden and it was a perfect day. The day started with a tour from Perry, it is also good to look at the crops and talk them over with Perry. While up there Perry said I had to get all the blight tomatoes out of the garden and on the fire. I had two guests to lunch, one Louise and the other a student who wanted to talk about gardening at GD, Matthew. He is the son of one of the great Horticulturist of Britain so it was great to have him here. After lunch Matthew asked if I would like any help in the garden. Of course the answer was yes and the tomatoes where the top of the list to get out. We got all the tomatoes out that had blight and all good fruit picked. What a perfect lunch guest, I need more like Matthew, young, strong and enthusiastic. I now know what dear Jose rated him so highly.