I had a wonderful day last week. We went to a part of the country I've never visited before, the Welsh Marches, to visit Claire Austin and her husband Ric. They'd moved to this beautiful part of the country (at the border of England and Wales) relatively recently and they didn't just move home, they moved their nursery too.
Claire's garden already looked really colourful and well established which reminded me, yet again, just how valuable hardy perennials can be in growing quickly and creating impact even in brand new borders. Claire was growing lots of her favourite plants as well as some really promising new varieties which, if they make the grade, will then be introduced into her range. Claire is such a wonderfully warm, knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardener, it was such a treat to be there!
We were filming Claire for a Garden inspirations show which will be broadcast over the August Bank holiday weekend. The weather was changeable to say the least! We spent most of the time dodging showers, retreating to the kitchen for cups of tea every few minutes. Claire and Ric share their garden with a lovable assortment of chickens whom they tell me are responsible for slug control as well as the occasional weeding and manuring.
After a really bad night trying to sleep at a local B&B (the chimes of the local church range every fifteen minutes throughout the night), we travelled home and I spent the rest of the week writing my book. It's due out next spring and the deadline for finishing it is rapidly approaching. I take the occasional break wandering around the garden; my regale lilies are looking and smelling amazing. And I picked my first tomatoes of the season – they were delicious.