We are somewhat partial to parades and festivals in Hastings and the most recent one was the extremely colourful Jack in the Green which welcomes the spring with much dressing up, pagan(ish) celebrations, many Morris Dancers and (in another part of town and in no way related) upwards of 20,000 bikers admiring each others machines on the seafront. I’m more an onlooker than a participant, but I do dress the garden door each year with flowers from the garden.
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This Christmas see the RHS garden at Wisley in a magical new light. Spectacular light installations have transformed late winter afternoons with a burst of colour that illuminates the grandeur of some of the iconic trees and structures. As the daylight begins to fade, the Lumière is brought to life.
Follow the garden trail to discover 18 artistic installations. See the eight-bauble tree, with glowing orbs delicately suspended among the branches.
Marvel at the Glasshouse transformed into a treasure-trove of shapes and shadows playing on exotic palms. Take in the floating rings of light on the Canal, and dance around the historic oak tree to trigger the swirling change of colour. More details on www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley
The other side of the Long Water, the gold medal for Best Small Garden was awarded to ‘Pepa’s Karst Garden’ – the recreation of the entrance and courtyard of a typical Slovenian farmhouse.
So often this sort of thing is a pastiche, but here it had real authenticity. A surrounding drystone wall was studded with Sempervivums growing in the crevices and a wonderful ancient carved well-head was the centrepiece of the courtyard. Limestone was a major feature of the garden, as it is of Karst region of Slovenia, where spectacular populations of wild flowers thrive in the rocky environment.
Nearby a contemporary garden contained a highly covetable and very attractive outdoor kitchen with a woodburning oven.
It had substance as well as style – so much more attractive than the ubiquitous chimenea – and not necessarily expensive to build. Raised beds held salads and herbs as well as colourful flowers. Lots of inspiration to take home.
Similarly, the Life Cycle Garden had some great ideas – the loosely stacked log wall would be perfect for the end of a garden as an inexpensive disguise for a boring fence and it would also make an excellent wildlife habitat. The nearby Coppice Garden showed how a small shady area could be given structure and style with a curving drystone wall and woven hazel fencing.