Category Archives: gardens

Abingdon Spring Show

The Abingdon Horticultural Society’s Spring Show was a vibrant display of local gardening expertise. Mayor Councillor Gwyneth Lewis presented awards to the winners, having been warmly welcomed by Society Chairman David Bingley.

Charlton Park Garden Centre, the show’s sponsor, provide support. This Wantage-based garden centre also offers a regular stall at Abingdon Market every Monday.

The competition included various categories of spring blooms and houseplants. This year’s tulips were particularly impressive. There were also handicraft and cookery competitions.

Founded in 1885, the Abingdon Horticultural Society has a long history of nurturing local gardeners. Learn more about the society and its upcoming events at

Abingdon town centre was brightened today by people collecting for the Marie Curie charity, who provide support at the end of life, whether at home or in hospices.

St Ethelwold’s Garden – March 2024 – Happy Easter

The wildflower garden at the bottom of St Ethelwold’s Garden is starting to bloom. The purple pyramids of flowers are Honesty.

There are honey bees and bumble bees in the garden and a good variety of flowers – far more than in February. This bumble bee is on a willow catkin taking pollen. It is not just the flowers that have pollen.

There are lots of grape hyacinths.

Fruit blossoms grow against a wall on an espalier.

There are hundreds of tulips coming up, and April will look magnificent with even more flowers. The volunteer gardeners have been busy.

At the bottom of the garden is Clematis ‘snowdrift’ with its drift of flowers. Its long narrow leaves are evergreen and leathery.

On one hedge, I saw a sparrow-like bird. The picture has a blurred 3-D quality. It may be a Dunnock, also known as a ‘hedge sparrow’ which is not really a sparrow.

Happy Easter!

St Ethelwolds Garden – February 2024

Since January, the tortoise has moved from the birdbath to a large jug with yellow flowers.

Volunteer gardeners have strung new ropes across the trellis area. Most plants are still quite low and the view is uninterrupted.

The row of compost bins near the bottom of the garden are at different stages. Just the nearby bin is taking fresh organic materials. The others hold heating up compost or final compost.

A blackbird pecks for worms among the Hellebores. Hellebores flower during January and February and establish themselves before other plants compete for resources in the spring and summer.

Daffodils are now on the lawn under the tree where the aconites flowered in January.

Pink Primroses brighten up some areas of the rockery.

St Ethelwold’s Garden – January 2024

Rather than visit a nature reserve every month, as in previous years, I have decided to pay a monthly visit to St. Ethelwold’s Garden. A dedicated team of volunteers keep this garden thriving! Some are gardening experts. Others are newer. Since December, there has been a notice about Simon, one of the gardening experts, who died. There is a book of remembrance for him inside the house.

This is the view from one of the many seats in the garden and the view back to St Ethelwold’s House, which serves as a spiritual retreat and community centre, as does the garden.

Last week was cold, and there was thick ice on the water butt.

After two windy storms (Isha and Jocelyn), today was sunny and breezy.

There are not a lot of flowers in January. But some of the flower heads from last year have been left and still give a good display.

The first flower of the year was probably the Winter Aconite. They are balled up in the morning or when it is cold but open up to reveal six petals within a frill of leaves by afternoon.

Clumps of snow drops are also flowering. I also saw pink primroses and dutch irises, protected close to a wall. Hose pipes are laid about and help irrigate the garden.

A robin was on the highest spur of leaves above an evergreen, singing away.

A great tit and blue tit were on a tight rope near a peanut holder. They could be the same birds that visit our feeder in West St Helen Street. Our garden is about 80 meters from St Ethelwold’s as birds fly.