An Al fresco evening

Starlight Express

This climbing rose is called Starlight Express and it is one of the most prolific I’ve ever seen. At the height of its season we have been known to deadhead more than a hundred blooms in a single day.  It was launched in 1997 (the year that we moved into our present house)  to support the Great Ormond Street children’s hospital fund. We planted this one  the following year.  The fragrance is light and I usually choose more fragrant roses but I love the colour. Indian Summer is my all-time favourite. I have one of these in the front garden.

As we went out for lunch today, we only wanted a light meal this evening so, making the most of the slightly cooler temperature, decided that we could eat outside. Our un-shaded south-facing garden has been far too hot over the past few evenings. A light tuna and egg salad was enough.

Tuna & egg

I’ve been baking this afternoon so we followed it with a sticky lemon cake (made this afternoon) served with chopped strawberries and peaches. Chopping strawberries is a little quirk of mine. I cannot eat a strawberry unless it has at least been cut in half. I can tell you exactly where this odd habit arose. I was a small girl in my grandparent’s garden when, one day, I pulled the stalk out of a strawberry and was greeted by a tiny, wriggling white creature – some kind of caterpillar I expect – but I ran in screaming that there was a worm in my strawberry and I didn’t eat them for years afterwards!

Cake fruit

Whilst we sat there enjoying the warm breeze, I thought I could take you on a tour of my garden which slopes upwards away from the house. Leading from the house, French doors open onto the patio which has a few filled pots, like the one below which contains alstroemeria.   There are some lilies still to flower. I know from previous years that they will be stunning.


There is also a small border  where we grow sweet peas, I adore their smell. Amongst their roots are Welsh poppies and Nigella.


Seven steps, with a rockery to each side lead centrally from the patio to the next level. On the right hand side is a bird bath and two feeders – one contains seeds and the other, fat balls. There are lots of little hidey-holes for wildlife in amongst the plants.

Bird bath & feeder

At the top of the rockery sits a huge California lilac and behind that a purple lilac tree. Both are well past their flowering time now but here is a picture taken a few weeks ago. It’s a shame that the lilac blossom is so short lived.


The second level provides lots of little areas for wildlife, several shrubs including a large orange blossom,  the aforementioned Starlight Express rose, and Madame Grégoire Staechelin, another very vigorous climbing rose, this time white with very dark glossy leaves and a strong heady fragrance.  It is a later flowering rose so nothing to see at the moment. The two roses intertwine with honeysuckle and cover an arbour which sits at the top of the steps. We dispensed with the grass a couple of years ago and laid a circular stone area instead.


A few more steps lead to another, much smaller, rockery and the garden shed which started life as a summerhouse. For a tool store cum propagation room it is rather well appointed with lined walls, tiled floor and fancy wall lights! We so rarely used it for its intended purpose that when the old shed got damaged by bad weather, we decided to co-opt the summerhouse as its replacement.

Summerhouse shed

Behind the shed and up another couple of steps is our small vegetable patch where we (I use this term loosely – I NEVER do gardening other than a rare rose deadheading) grow runner beans, leeks, raddish, spring onions, tomatoes and rhubarb. The raddish are not doing well this year – lots of leaves but very little raddish.

Beans & Leeks

I’m off to paint my nails now, ready for tomorrow’s Ascot Ladies Day.






  1. Oh, what a delightful garden! Thank you for showing us around. And what gorgeous roses you have.
    Have a lovely Ladies Day tomorrow! Look forward to hearing all about it! Ladies Day for £6.95 can’t be bad!
    Margaret P


    • Thank you. It is probably a bit overgrown in places but I do like it. The low budget Ladies Day invites no great expectation but a light lunch and a chat with friends is always good. I shall report in later!


      • i forgot to mention that I cut strawberries in half (or into more pieces if they are very large), too! I just think they look nicer on the plate if not served as huge great lumps! I’ve even been known to slice raspberries if they are very large, and I slice grapes in half when I use them in a fruit salad.
        Margaret P


      • Oh yes, I like grapes to be cut in half too (length ways only)! I’m ok with raspberries being whole though!


    • Many thanks! I am glad that you are enjoying it. It’s actually a mock-Ascot day (which I will admit to in my next post) at a local pub. It’s been put on by the gym I go to. £6.95 for lunch and we get to dress up.


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