Friday, 12 September 2008


What a nice thought. 

Argh what a week it's been. I been all over the shop. It all kicked off with a seven-hour early morning writing marathon on Monday because I'd been putting off finishing a piece about Procrastination to run in the Independent (ha ha). 

I really like writing about non-gardening stuff as it makes me feel like I have more strings to my bow, ahem. No, it was good fun ringing up life coaches and saying "how in god's NAME can I motivate myself to be better at working and less attentive to mucking about on the internet?". Anyway their advice must have worked as Baklava has been neglected all week in favour of the commercially-viable. 

Then just as I finished Procrastination the Times emailed and asked for a 1000-word piece I owed them about Alain de Botton's new School of Life, so then I had to finish that. And then I drafted four 400-word pieces for the next month's columns. 

On Tuesday I ate two plums. No I didn't really. I wrote my regular column for the paper and then nipped off to Gravetye Manor in Sussex for lunch with Richard Bisgrove who's just written a really gorgeous, gorgeous new biography of William Robinson. He took us round the autumn garden in the rain talking to us about Robinson and why he was so unique. The book is a wonderful record of all Victorian gardening, not just WR - lots in about carpet bedding which Robinson loathed and campaigned vociferously against. If you like all that Gertrude Jekyll stuff, have a look at the book (they have it at Inner Temple actually on the RHS bookstall). Or treat yourself to afternoon tea at the place itself- I think it must Arabella's local. 

On Wednesday I got up and read through loads of stuff about Darwin for a meeting, then took a group of volunteers who work at the Ashmolean round Kew for an hour and a half. They told me (I was really shocked) that the Ashmolean is having a big redevelopment (I did know that bit) and closes in January for a whole year. So check out your favourite painting now before it goes into storage. 

Then I went for a meeting with Kew magazine about how to celebrate Darwin's 200th birthday next spring. Very interesting - I've been given carte blanche to rootle around in the archives hunting out Darwin-Kew connections. And they are going to pay me. Life doesn't get much better than that, as far as I'm concerned. 

Corsican Pine at Kew

On Thursday I spent absolutely hours tracking down people for a piece on "Behind the Scenes at Kew's Tropical Extravaganza", as the Orchid Festival has been renamed. It's not till February, but glossy mags have such long lead times... And writing up a book proposal that someone had come back to me on sounding reasonably interested but in a big hurry. This meant I was very late leaving my house to get to the Inner Temple. 

But by incredible good fortune, just as I arrived, VP was leaving! And she took pity on me and wandered round with me for about another 45 minutes which was very kind as I'm sure that's the difference between a seat on the way home and not. Here is a lady, laughing her head off remembering a three-way email chat we had the night before with Garden Monkey. 

And sorry, but I actually liked Alex James's balcony the best, even though I think he is a cheese-eating cocaine bender monkey. 

We admired the borders for absolutely ages, drinking in all Andrea's fantastic colour combinations. It's so amazing to see real, soil-based planting at a flower show - god, a delight. Anyway here is another shot of that Persicaria James has gone all gay for - this time with bright red Ricinus balls. 

After VP went, I went to dinner in the Hall of the Inner Temple with a wonderful bunch of judges and gardeners: Ursula Buchan, Andrew Lawson and Jerry Harpur were on my table. Presiding as hostess was Kathy Brown, who is about to appear on the channel 5 thing whose name I'm unable to remember. I can't wait to see her segment. 

And then today I've written all my bloggage for next week, carried on working on the book proposal, looked over some design ideas for that, spent ages catching up on email, chased some Tropical Extravaganza stuff, and I'm about to go for a pizza with my friend Jo. 

So if anyone even thinks "why have you been so crap about blogging this week" that's why. And, anyway: shouldn't you be watching Toby Buckland?? 

But finally, one last picture going out to all my heuchera mommas. The show was left open for the lawyers to look around, but most of the exhibitors had gone (they trusted lawyers?). This is the Heuchera sweetie shop, completely unattended. A little fantasy snap for ma homies. 


Zoë said...

Sounds like a fab week to me!

VP said...

I'm sure you know this, but there's quite a lot of Darwin related stuff in the Herbarium too. We got very excited every time we found a Type specimen in the fern section we were documenting and realising it was from Darwin's voyage.

And yes, like Zoe I'm exceedingly jealous of your hectic lifestyle.

AND who was that baglady you just casually photographed, hmm? :D

patientgardener said...

I want your job - please!

Arabella Sock said...

That sounds like the kind of week that you can feel all righteous about - busy but fun!

Thanks for the tip on Gravetye afternoon teas. I hadn't realised they did them although we have lunched there a few times.

I went to the RHS show on Saturday and disappointingly the only famous person there was me! I did drool over the heucheras though!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Your week sounds like a lot of fun, busy but fun. BTW any new developments in Midsummer Berryfield we should know about?