2019 Part 3 – A Year in Words and Many Photographs: Summer

January 23, 2020


As another hot English summer begins we run away to sea for a few days. The dog likes the beaches of Norfolk nearly as much as the ones in Fife.

I spend a blissful day with Jo Flowers at her new studio in the heart of Settle Norfolk and it provides enough inspiration to get me through the rest of the summer. We chat about her upcoming wedding and how hard it is to find the right underwear and she shows me the invitations and her perfect colour palettes, as well as Cabin Number 1, which will be the bridal suite. Her attention to detail is something else and I can see that she’s creating a very special place there.

Mid-July sees the first Simply Yorkshire Retreat and, together with Frida Kim, I spend a few days flowering, laughing and showing Courtney, Darines, Helen and Kirsty the very best bits of our area, including that special garden at Dove Cottage as well as my favourite pub, The Shibden Mill. The gin bar I leave up at Old Cragg Hall Barn seems to be much appreciated and apparently the view up there is far better with a glass in your hand.

One morning I ask Frida if she’d like porridge for breakfast and, showing me some secateurs, she tells me she’s already been out for a forage.


(Above photos by Helen Warner)

The allotment roses provide welcome extra treats for one-to-one classes and Mr Snug starts to redesign it for next year, complete with tiny dry stone walls and The Sissinghurst Iris collection (fingers crossed it works).
A quick trip up to Cambo to meet Rachael Scott and to finalise plans for this year’s class. It’s the Scottish school holidays, so young Rowan comes to skip with the dog.

An emerging Rudbeckia is noted and turns out to be just perfect in time to come.
Back home, the Rudbeckia section of our own garden is a treasure trove…..
Which is good news because the group of guests who arrive from South Korea with Sunmi Flowers all enjoy choosing exactly the right ones. Even though the day they come to visit is the wettest August day ever, it doesn’t seem to matter and we all end up in the pub drinking Guinness and talking about clothes shopping.

(Photo by Ed Chadwick)


Carol Siddorn sends tomatoes. They sit on the kitchen windowsill where all the best treasures go, so I can look at them all the time. The Tagetes in the garden might be my favourite flowers this year.

The London wedding goes more smoothly than I had ever thought. The combination of laid back bride and top team (Sarah and Charlotte help) together with great weather and superb flowers is a good one. I shall never forget the kindness of Sarah from Nettlewood Flowers, who, as well as supplying all the flowers, lets me use her workshop and manages to keep me so on track with timings that we take a night off for dinner!