Plants to celebrate the Light of Winter

I am impatiently awaiting 21 December, the winter solstice that marks the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Although I am not a Druid or a hippy, the solstice feels almost more important that Christmas. The two festivals are in fact deeply connected, as it turns out that many of our Christmas traditions originated in pagan rituals to mark this great big … Continue reading Plants to celebrate the Light of Winter

A garden planted with pebbles (6 on Saturday)

This week’s early edition of Six on Saturday comes to you from Dungeness, in Kent, England: a bleak but beautiful shingle peninsula that juts out into the English Channel, moodily facing off France. It’s home to an ageing 1970’s nuclear power plant, and also a very unusual garden that blends seamlessly into the landscape around it. Prospect Cottage is a fisherman’s hut bought by the … Continue reading A garden planted with pebbles (6 on Saturday)

A berry nice time

A little departure from Six on Saturday this week to tell you about my autumnal foraging! I’ve always loved the berries that adorn the trees and shrubs at this time of year, dripping from branches or twinkling on bare stems like little red, orange or yellow jewels. For a few years now, I’ve been eyeing the rosehips that appear on a large shrub rose by … Continue reading A berry nice time

Summer days: butterflies, blight and Banksy

Things are rarely entirely good or entirely bad, and so it is with summer in Belgium this year. On the bad side, we had the terrible weather and the terrible flooding in parts of the country. The clean-up is going to be long and expensive. Plus, we still have the confusion and uncertainty over how and when we can get to the motherland for our … Continue reading Summer days: butterflies, blight and Banksy

Saving the Planet One Pond at a Time

I’ve wanted a pond in the garden for a while now, and after a quick afternoon’s digging in the rain-softened clay with assistance from my son, who likes to dig, we now have one. It’s small, very small, but at 2m by 1m it just about officially qualifies as a pond. It’s located in the east-facing border which skirts the side of our house, and … Continue reading Saving the Planet One Pond at a Time

Les bonnes nouvelles (good news)

Some scenes from an afternoon bike ride through forest and orchard, and a pit stop at my favourite local café, where good news was on offer. A list of good news from around the world was displayed on the board on the pavement outside the café, including: Mexico has banned glyphosate (a broad-spectrum herbicide, used in weed killers) and GM corn. Kazakhstan has abolished the … Continue reading Les bonnes nouvelles (good news)

Belgium’s most famous bluebells

This morning I was in Hallerbos (Dutch for Halle Forest), a stretch of woodland in Flemish Brabant, just half an hour’s drive from Brussels. It’s famed for its carpet of blue at this time of year: it’s not just England that can boast this beautiful spring phenomenon! Bluebells are often an indicator of very old woodland, and Hallerbos is a remnant of the ancient charcoal … Continue reading Belgium’s most famous bluebells