Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Life in a Cottage Garden

I stumbled across this set of videos and enjoyed watching them so much that I wanted to share them with you. The video series follow a year of seasonal changes in Carol Kein's garden in North Devon, England.

I admire Carol's passion for gardening and her boundless energy. Well into the darkness of evening, she's out in her potting shed filling seed trays and making new plants. As I watched her working away, scattering seed over the surface of the rich, black earth and covering it with "grit" I found myself wondering if her husband must not be a little lonely inside the warm house watching the "telly" all by himself.

Does he peer out the kitchen window periodically and wonder if its time to put the kettle on? Somehow I think that after over thirty years of marriage he has come to understand and appreciate her obsession with plants.

Photo by Jonathan Buckley Source

Carol is a tiny woman, with a bird's nest of short blonde hair, but there is nothing delicate about her. As you will see, she is always hefting and hauling heavy plant pots and trudging through her garden wheelbarrow in hand.

"Come'n have a look at this," she says beaconing to the camera in the fourth video of the series. It turns out there are hornets "tucking into" the bark of some willow saplings. Her delight in this discovery makes me think of my Mom. She too found pleasure in such simple things.

My most favourite scene by far is one of triumph. It is mid-August and Carol's "hot" flower border has come into its height of color.

She adds a pot of tall vermilion 'Bishop of Llandaff' dahlias into the border and then stands back to describe for viewers the glorious mingling of reds, oranges and yellows. Her words end with a crescendo of excitement and her body rocks in a little gig. "I think that its all sort of..." her hands ball into fists as she struggles to find the perfect word to describe just what she has managed to create. Finally the right adjective bubbles to the surface,"Magnificent!"Carol declares in jubilation.

Moments of triumph like this are every gardeners dream!

Go make yourself a cup of coffee and then settle into to watch the snowdrops and hellebores emerge in Carol's garden in the early winter.

Links to Life in a Cottage Garden can be found on my Pinterest page on the board "Gardening Videos".


  1. Thanks for popping by my autumn tea post. Boy, Carol is a dedicated gardener and sure inspires one to do more with their own garden.

  2. OMG - I just watched the first episode and am in love!!! How wonderful to be able to work in your garden in January and February. I might just have to move to England!
    Thank you for sharing this with us, Jennifer.

  3. Wow, Jennifer, this is one little powerhouse of a woman!
    I have watched just the first one thus far, but you can bet I will enjoy the others also.

    Thank you so very much for sharing these here.

  4. Oh these are wonderful...I will savor them all more this weekend...she reminds me of me and my hubby who delight in those little things in the garden....he no longer sits indoors in front of the TV...he is now a great garden helper.

  5. Now she is awesome !!! Passion is pure and hers is outstanding! Thank you for taking us to her garden!!!! She has such amazing combinations in her gardens!!! All the best this weekend friend!!!

  6. Wow, my first time to see multi-petalled pansies. They are awesome. And you seem to be late, as you still have those snowdrops! I saw them once in the mountains of Turkey and smitten from then on!

  7. I love Carol Klein!
    You can also see her on Gardener's World.
    You can find it online if you search for it on

  8. I´ve never heard of her before, thanks for the heads up!

  9. I loved the first one will definitely watch the rest. She is a real workhorse makes me tired just watching her.


  10. I vowed I wouldn't sit at my computer too long on this beautiful morning, so I've bookmarked this page and will come back to it one evening when I have more time to watch these videos. Just thinking, we have about 900 cable channels, and I have yet to find one good gardening show to watch on a regular basis:) Thanks for sharing these!

  11. I saw this series when it was sent on BBC2, and I watch Gardeners World every Friday where she is one of the contributors, I love her way of presenting her garden and anything that grows there. By the way, if you think her ‘bird's nest of short blonde hair’ is cute, try and find some older clips or photos of her, when she had bright red dyed hair!
    I also appreciate the fact that I can work in my garden all year round, even in December, January and February, we have only a few days per year with snow, if any at all, and it is only when it is raining when I keep indoors – which it doesn’t too often here in London. Thanks for sharing the clips, lovely to see them again.

  12. Still recovering from jet lag (my eyes are barely open) - I will take a very close look at these videos soon. Thx for letting us know about them, Jennifer!

  13. I've heard of her and am going to rewatch these this winter when I'm half insane from garden lust. I love how casual and enthusiastic she is. Her husband probably enjoys having the space to do his own thing, even if it's just watching his own shows and not having to share the remote.

  14. Yes, I heartily, she is wonderful. I watched that series too and enjoy her on Gardeners World each Friday evening. Her garden is fabulous.xxxx

  15. Carol's joy is infectious. We all can learn a lesson from her pleasure in simple things. I think that is the secret to a happy life. Too often we strive too hard for the big things over the horizon and in doing so, overlook the pleasures before us.

  16. your photo of the pansy faces is so beautiful, especially with the nice subtle texture work

  17. My does she have energy and an infectious personality. Her love of her garden really ring true. I watched one and will have to see more of her. I liked the garden through the seasons and the bees.

  18. I wasn't intending to but I watched all of part one. Needless to say I loved it because it was full of hellebores and snowdrops and an inspiring gardener.


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