March 20, 2024

Celebrating Tamsin Westhorpe and the Spring Equinox!

Our fantastic author Tamsin Westhorpe has recently been included in HortWeek’s list of 100+ leading women in horticulture, and we couldn’t be more excited for her! Today is the spring equinox, so what better way to celebrate Tamsin, nature and gardening than to share an excerpt from her book, Diary of a Modern Country Gardener.

Monday 19th March

Frogspawn is now very evident in the ponds. It bobs around in the water like an alien life form and is in danger from hungry passing birds. At the start of March the small pond looked like a boiling cauldron. There was so much frog activity the water was almost bubbling. 

It’s the adult frogs that are in danger from me. As I cut back faded perennials I’m keen to avoid decapitating one. They are so good at disguising themselves, so gardeners need to be on red alert. You won’t live with the guilt if you injure one of the slug-eating army. Today has been a day of showers then sunshine and I’m reminded of my grandmother’s old kitchen clock. On the hour a lady would pop out of a door and then reverse back in – that lady was me today. My jeans are thick with mud and it is days like this that convince me that a pair of proper garden trousers is money well spent. Wet jeans are never comfortable; as the hours pass they get longer and longer and start dragging on the ground.

Hand-weeding gravel paths has been my task today. Some would say boring, but I find it very satisfying. The only downside to this task is that it often leads to a torn thumb nail. A small tear halfway down your nail is something you just have to get used to as a gardener. I have also taken the plunge today and put my agaves in pots back out in the garden. A trifle early but they’ve been placed in a south-facing spot. They’ve spent the winter in the polytunnel but before putting them to bed for the winter, I failed to remove the many leaves from various deciduous trees (mainly oak) that had lodged in the crown of the plant. Trying to get leaves out from the jaws of this sharp plant by hand is not to be recommended. It was Colette who suggested with a giggle that we should get the vacuum cleaner out. Laugh not, as this did just the trick! Henry Hoover is now a part of the gardening team here.

Tamsin Westhorpe, Diary of a Modern Country Gardener
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