My aunt, Krystyna Gaffney, who has died of a brain aneurysm aged 64, worked in the examinations department at Newcastle University for 25 years.She went on to study biological science at the University of East Anglia where she met the love of her life – Paul Gaffney, a tall, softly spoken Geordie with a mop of dark curls.
For those of us who have to self-isolate in the coming months, gardening can be a great escape.The best news is, you don’t even need a garden to get these benefits.
I have fallen for a very ordinary sort of plant; the small woodlander, Ajuga reptans, or bugle.It’s a native that’s fond of damp forest floors, where it creates a dense carpet of small blue flowers that are delightful: not showy or spectacular, just rather lovely and flowering right through to early summer.
A blue tit.‘A blue tit alights on the wall of the house and begins inspecting every cranny in the stonework, pausing every second to check its surroundings.
Pasqueflowers bring colour to gravel gardens.GALASSO/De Agostini via Getty Images
Plant this The purple goblets of the pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) start emerging now, bringing colour to gravel gardens and food for hungry pollinators.
Mother’s Day memories: ‘Devon hedgerows were awash with primrose.For many it’s a day to look back as well as forward.
Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ is a pretty spring bloom.Photograph: Alamy
Plant this Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ is a pretty purple wallflower that you can plant for a spring display, and enjoy the blooms until midsummer.
Blueberries are acid fans.If, however, you grow in a pot, container or raised bed, then you can create the right conditions using ericaceous soil.
WATCH: Step inside Architectural Digest’s new video tour of Dakota Johnson’s sunny and relaxed L.The latest issue of Architectural Digest features a sneak peek into Dakota Johnson’s earthy L.
Starlings feeding on ripe fruit in a pear tree.Photograph: Pat Bennett/Alamy
The weather during the past week has been quite what we look for in March – stormy, uncertain, and with bitterly cold winds at times.
Sweet and intense: boysenberries ‘taste like someone has injected them with blackberry jam and raspberry cordial’.Or maybe it’s down to perceived cost – after all, vegetable seeds are far cheaper to buy than fruit bushes or trees.
Cowslips’ buttery blooms add sparkle to damp lawns.Photograph: Paul Starosta/Getty Images
Plant this Cowslips (Primula veris) will colonise ground around ponds or add sparkle to damp lawns, sending up spikes of buttery blooms in April and May that provide pollen and nectar for bees.
A common shrew, peering out of a hollowed log.
Prospect Cottage, Derek Jarman’s house and garden in Dungeness, Kent.It was with these materials that Derek Jarman, the film-maker, artist and activist, started his garden in the 80s.
See 33 varieties of camellia at Chiswick House in London.Photograph: Alamy
Visit this The Grade I-listed conservatory at Chiswick House in London is home to 33 varieties of camellia: at their flowery peak until 22 March.