SEE if you can reach that one going under the slates.’ This month’s column finds me up a ladder, where I have been each March since we clothed the front of the house with that loveliest and most invasive of climbers, the wisteria. The Chief Horticulturalist stands at the bottom, seemingly unconcerned about the imminent risk of widowhood. I lift my head over the fascia so that my chin rests in the gutter and gingerly reach across the roof to find the offending tendril and give it a yank.
As I do so, I reflect on how the characterisation of Adam and Eve makes the story of Man’s original fall in the Book of Genesis so believable. There is a serpentine quality to Wisteria sinensis, China’s finest botanical export. I love the way it winds itself around drain pipes with subtle wiliness, until I have to free its strands before they’re prised from the masonry.
On my ascent this time, I passed last year’s goldfinch nest in a thicket of branches where the fuchsia, the rose and the wisteria meet in a pleasing composition. Higher still, the muddy outline of an old swallow’s nest reminds me that our colony must soon be leaving their winter hideaway in the South African veldt to come home, if they haven’t already.
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Sail away with me
Our remaining windmills are unashamedly romantic slices of old England. Last spring, those still working went into overdrive to meet local demand for flour, reports Eleanor Doughty
Ode to our wastelands
Losing small patches of scrubby land to new houses might not seem significant, but these little Edens are vital for Nature, contends Mary Colwell
The not so wild west
West Chelsea–the area between Cremorne Road and Sydney Street–is where the fortunes of this famous and much-loved area began, finds Carla Passino
The taste of a mermaid's kiss
Once viewed as a lowly substitute, salt-loving marsh samphire is back in favour in our gardens and on our plates, says Julia Platt Leonard
With fens like these..
Cambridgeshire and Norfolk have a rich history not only in agriculture and ecology, but homes, too
Testament to taste
Quality and quirk will out, as is evident from the contents sales of a widow of the Ford motor dynasty
On the edge - Interview Jake Fiennes
Holkham’s director of conservation on changing farming to feed us and protect wildlife
Sweet child of mine
It took centuries for the ringleted baby Jesus and diminutive royal ‘adult’ to give way to images of the mirth and mischief of childhood on canvas, says Matthew Dennison
Interiors The designer's room
By introducing curves, Irene Gunter fitted a bath and a double shower into this London townhouse
READY, SET, DIVE
Outdoor swimming is the lockdown trend that is here to stay. Rosie Paterson takes a closer look at some of her favourite London ponds and pools
10 Simple Ways to Make Better To-Do Lists
How effective is your to-do list? Does it help you plan your day and nudge you to prioritize the right tasks? Or is it a never-ending inventory of tasks you feel guilty for not having done yet, and now you’re not going to do any of them? A good to-do list should serve you. You should not be at its mercy.
GAMECHANGER PAIGE HERNANDEZ
Associate artistic director, Everyman Theatre
SNOOPY SHINES IN APPLE TV+ SERIES THAT'S TRUE TO ITS ROOTS
“Peanuts” star Snoopy is famous for being a highly imaginative dog, liable at to go off on loony flights of fancy. But, it turns out, his world has some strict rules.
Alessandra Ball James
Longtime Charlotte Ballet dancer pirouettes to new career amid COVID
Lost in Space
End of The Everglades?
America’s greatest wetland treasure is dying. A harrowing kayak crossing reveals why our most overlooked and endangered national park demands saving.
HOME for the Holidays
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR DEBBIE MACOMBER HAS A POIGNANT NEW NOVEL AND COOKBOOK JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS. FIND OUT HOW TO WIN BOTH BOOKS
UNIVERSITIES SCRAMBLE TO DEAL WITH VIRUS OUTBREAKS
North Carolina’s flagship university canceled in-person classes for undergraduates just a week into the fall semester Monday as college campuses around the U.S. scramble to deal with coronavirus clusters linked in some cases to student housing, off-campus parties and packed bars.
Michael Shane Neal
Using a Photo Reference Wisely
Cool Catch Ups
Extra time on your hands this summer? Take a dive in or a step back into CBS’s catalogue of binge-able shows, which offer the thrills, chills, and laughs you just might be craving.