Last Thursday saw the final talk on my garden before this year’s open garden season preparations get fully underway. I travelled to Rustington to talk to the West Sussex Horticultural Society and a great evening was had by all, based on the feedback from those present. Next week sees the East & Mid Sussex National Garden Scheme volunteers host their annual tea party for all the garden owners who open for the scheme this season. This year the venue is Michelham Priory where a lovely afternoon tea will be served to over 100 garden owners.

I’ve been busy in my own garden this week, starting to move some of the containers around, that had been transferred to the area behind the house which provides a degree of protection from the harsh winter weather. It is always refreshing to locate them somewhere different, thereby creating slightly different vistas for returning visitors. I’ve been busy deciding on the range of cakes I will be baking and serving in the garden too. You’ll have to come and visit when we open, to sample what will be on offer.

If you fancy a drive out from the city tomorrow, there is a brand-new garden opening for the National Garden Scheme in Bosham. The Hamblin Centre (pictured)is an ornamental and wildlife garden in harmony with the Hamblin Centre’s work, towards health and wellbeing. Visitors will find shrubs, perennials, mature specimen and fruit trees, including a tulip tree and a mulberry. There’s a wildlife pond and bog garden too. It’s in Main Road in Bosham and opens from 11am to 430pm with entry £4.50. Full details at

I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes preparation for the Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail which takes place on the 25th and 26th July. Currently we have 16 gardens that will be taking part but I expect the final number to be over 20 again. I was extremely pleased to learn that the wonderful Jim Buttress, seen on TV in the documentary The World Garden at Lullingstone and more recently as the popular judge in The Big Allotment Challenge, will be joining me at Driftwood, to officially open the trail at 11am on the July 25. He’ll be signing copies of his book so why not join us.

Back in the garden, March may seem a bit too early to be watching out for lily beetles, but they often attack Fritillaria at this time of year. Later on, they’ll attack lily flowers and foliage. Squash any of the red adult beetles and the black larvae that you find or they’ll quickly shred the leaves and flowers.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at