This page is designed to be a selection of images that inspire me. Beautiful pieces of architecture that trigger an idea, photographs of places that feature in my novels, as well as images of the other passion in my life … my garden. When not immersed in my writing room, I am usually to be found bent over in a flower bed, or digging (or increasingly trying NOT to dig – as per the principles of the ‘no dig’ movement) in the vegetable garden. The rhythm of the gardening year is of huge importance to me.
The chilly dark days of January and February are brought to life by the big open skies, the unfurling of the delicate flowers of Christmas roses and glimpses of bright green new growth – shallots and garlic for example - emerging from the dark brown soil.
March and April are filled with flower – daffodils and narcissi, blue grape hyacynths, pure white snowdrops - all set against the leggy, luscious lime green flower tips of euphorbia – a plant family that grows like a weed in my garden. These greens, limes, yellow and white flowers merge seamlessly with orange, dark red and purple tulips unfolding, jewel-like, in the borders. At eye level the apple blossom sparkles and the woodlands that surround the garden are filled with the heavy scent and shimmering haze of bluebells.
May, of course, is when the gardening summer really gets going and the borders are filled with plants jostling for position.
Taking inspiration from great gardeners of the past like Vita Sackville West, my flower beds are themed by colour. White and grey plants fill one section of the garden, glowing luminously at night. The long brightly coloured ‘hot’ borders are at their best in the early morning and at dusk – when the light levels allow the purples and oranges to glow. These borders flank a small water feature allowing us to eat lunch and supper on a brick terrace listening to trickle of water running down the sides of a large Cretan pot.
The Autumn is when I concentrate seven days a week on writing. As the skies darken, and the days shorten, I emerge at lunchtime and take in the hydrangeas that flank my writing room – their dark purple stems and purply-blue flowers merging with velvety dark red roses.
As I walk up to the house for lunch – past the bed of squashes that lie plump and blond on the flower bed, I look ahead to the winter months. By the time December comes and my first draft is finished, I walk back to the house each evening – my way lit by torchlight - listening to the hooting of the owls and the rustle of the wind in the trees, my head filled with ideas for future stories and plans for my garden…