The free bird

House sparrow on fence

Every day I watch the birds rest, feed, hunt and soar in the sky and in the valley around our garden. There are quiet pauses when they sit on a fence, a branch, an electric wire or a barn roof nearby. Fledglings seeking their parents and each other. As the day approaches dusk their songs… Read More

An English trifle for July 4th Party

English trifle with US fruit flag

We had a wonderful barbecue party in our garden to celebrate US July 4th. A friend brought over a perfect dessert to celebrate here in the middle of the English countryside – an English trifle with a US fruit flag.  The first reference to a trifle appeared in the 16th century, way before the US Declaration of… Read More

How to identify insects, snails and butterflies in the woods

Small Woodland Creatures by Olsen Sunesen Pedersen

My twins went on a bug hunt and found lots of little creatures. They were taking part in activities for kids in the woods at Wakehurst Place, the Royal Botanic Garden of Kew’s country estate in Sussex. My son was rather excited about a spider he caught among the leaves on the woodland floor. That’s when I… Read More

Cutting Garden Roses

Basket with roses

I spent early Saturday morning cutting roses and other flowers from my garden. I was right in picking them early but I did make some mistakes. Guests were arriving for the weekend so I wanted the house filled with fresh flowers. There was something rather relaxing and wonderful about picking one’s own flowers in season… Read More

How to build an awesome den

Kids Den building in woods

When we moved home this spring one of the top requirements was finding a place to build a new den.  My kids were sad about abandoning their previous ‘secret’ den so we needed to start over in the woods near our new home.  As I’ve discovered it’s important for kids to play in dens and forts – and… Read More

Dungeness flowers in a strange wilderness

Dungeness flowers and abandoned boat

Little did I know that I had arrived in Dungeness this past June weekend at an ideal time for wild flowers. This headland on the Kent coast is a unique wilderness touched both my man and a spectacular plant life. I was gawping at the contrasting surreal and strange scenes when I began noticing the… Read More

Dungeness – Britain’s only desert

Dungeness nuclear station boats lighthouse

A great friend took me to Dungeness on Sunday and I’m already planning a return trip this summer with my kids. It’s the most surreal and visually fascinating place I’ve wandered around for a very long time.  It’s located on a strip of headland in Kent on the most south eastern tip of England. The… Read More

Wildlife Spotter Adventure – A red fox walks by

Red fox standing in countryside dirt track

Sometimes at night we hear the cry of the fox, but last week one made its appearance in the broad daylight. First of all I saw something move around in the undergrowth but it was rather camouflaged. Then out came the red fox and walked up a dirt lane near our garden. My daughter was home with… Read More

Gravetye Manor gardens in June

Gravetye Manor flowers by wall

I had to have a wander this week around the nearby gardens of Gravetye Manor in Sussex. It’s nearby and an ideal sanctuary, I mean garden, to see what’s blooming in June. Actually I lie, I went there twice this week – once to visit the walled kitchen garden and the second time the flower gardens around the country… Read More