First Frost

23 November 2015
Ben Pentreath

It’s a very short blog this week. And late. Apologies!

Do you know why? Because our internet is down in Dorset. Complete bliss. I didn’t so much as  up my phone for 48 hours. No emails from clients to bother me. And in fact, you realise QUITE how much time you can waste checking your instagram, or wondering what the weather will in London in 5 days time.

So I’m just snatching a moment at the end of a meeting down here in Dorchester to pop a few photos of the garden on the blog. First frost moment – light on Sunday morning; even stronger this morning.  It really is one of my favourite time of year.

Sharp-eyed readers will notice we’ve lost our lawn.  The other day, Charlie sent me a photo… “I’ve made a bit more space for flowers, B” came the text message. You can see the results here. Bonkers. It’s going to be stunning. I think he needed to make room for the 8000 tulip bulbs he’s ordered….


P1050316 P1050324 P1050325 P1050349 P1050350


(that’s about 1/3 of them).

P1050392 P1050395 P1050397 P1050401 P1050402 P1050403 P1050405 P1050406 P1050412 P1050417

It feels like we are slipping so fast towards Christmas. In just a few weeks Charlie and I will be off to New Zealand. We can’t wait!

In the meantime, do please have a good little browse around the website – we are working around the clock to deal with internet orders at the moment. We’re rather proud to say that trade has never been better. THANK YOU!

And should you find yourselves in London we’d love to see you soon. Charlie’s doing an amazing Christmas window very soon (I will hope to post photographs as soon as it’s complete) and if you are in town on Wednesday 2nd December, the traders of Lambs Conduit and Rugby Streets would love to see you for our Christmas Party! We’ll all be there…. together with Max the Poodle in his Kissing Boot, and more mulled wine and mince pies than you can imagine.
Layout 1Ho ho ho!  When did you last get invited to a seven and a half hour long party?

(oh, and don’t you love a short blog?! Even if it is late).

19 comments on this post

Can’t wait to see Charlie’s beautiful new picking garden in April/May!

Did you know Edwardian picking gardens are coming back into fashion? (Although I doubt they ever went out of fashion in England.) We have a teeny, tiny picking garden (post-it-note-sized), with a blue/purple garden full of cool-colour flowers and a red/pink one full of brighter stems (inspired by Arne Maynard’s love of purple and plum gardens). There is something so glorious about wandering around in it in the first light at 5AM, picking flowers for the day. It’s the loveliest way to start the morning.

Charlie would love a gorgeous new book that’s just been published in Australia by Penguin’s illustrated book imprint Lantern (which is sadly shuttering up next year). It’s all about flower growers and their gardens and businesses. The images are enchanting. I hope someone does something similar in England; it would be so wonderful to see places like The Land Gardener and other flowers growers celebrated in print.

so its 2 pm EST on Dec 2 and i imagine its nearing the end of your party… so wish to be there. someday…

hope it was fun!

as for the garden … where the front lawn beds put in earlier this summer? it seems there are growing things in there already!

wow.. the yard will be gorgeous next spring – hope there is a good protection plan against the varmint mentioned by the other poster.

LOL!!! Does Charlie have an army of little elves? That is a WHOLE LOT of bulbs. But such nice and ready beds for them. All I can say is have fun planting all those. The suspense will be great all winter. Talk about looking forward to spring!


Love the photo of all of the bulbs! Though badgers and tulips–who knew? (here it’s squirrels who eat bulbs). Maybe you need a guard dachshund to watch over them.


As a teenager, I moved to my very own bedroom after sharing with my younger brothers. My dear father, wallpapered the new room so perfectly and sanded down the fireplace to a pewter metal. I chose a memorable paper with clear red and green tulips on a summer white background from b and q! the 80s, I think I covered all my school books in it too. And my mother never keen on tulips made me bedspread in plum sprig from Laura ashley and I had coordinating dusky plum and cream curtains. It was a beautiful room that got the sun for most of the day and from my room at the bottom of the garden my father had his artists studio he built and there was train track with trains to waterloo and we would often wave as children when the train stopped! It was a perfect summer, then when the winter came our water pipes froze and burst and brown drips all down my beautifully papered walls. I had a wonderful penpal called Frances Waddington, her father owned a boatyard and we met on holiday in the isle of Wight at Yarmouth, where we would stay for about three weeks with my other friend Emma who had a sailing boat . We used to draw tulips on the back of our correspondance. I hope you make lots of memories with your with tulips! I think perhaps that was one of the most beautiful things my father ever did for me papering that room, your blog perhaps reminds me of those happy times when I had summers with sailing boats, a garden with summer salads, art, a white rabbit and a train to waterloo. Vibrant clear 80s tulips, and bieng part of an artists family surrounded by paintings, antiques and flowers.


Absolutely lovely as always.
Please come to Wellington this time when you are over. Our shop is Slow Boat Records, Cuba Street, one of the last survivors.

Ben, everything looks really great! Good luck with the tulips—need to get mine in the ground too.
so, lissy

Ben, thanks for the post, lovely as usual. My favorie shot is the one of foreground bare branches with the church roofline and background trees fading into the frosty mist. Timeless. Do I suspect correctly that you are just as happy to turn the gardens over to Charlie, as he is to have them? I’ve always said, a lawn is just a garden waiting to happen. But I hope a bit of tapis vert remains at the far end? I recall the lovely blog photo of several years back, of the al fresco dining table with hurricane lamps, set on the grass in the long shadows of a summer’s evening. Will be lovelier than ever with the tulip beds too!


always love your blog! can’t remember exactly where you go in NZ but I had a fabulous supper recently with my sister at Ortega Fish shack and bar in Wellington,
really worth a visit.


You don’t suppose that Charlie married you for your beautiful garden, do you …:-)


do badgers come in the night? if so you’d better employ a night-watchmen as especially the Dorset badgers are connoisseurs and just adore tulips!! Would be a crying shame as they would look spectacular when in full bloom.


First serious condensation on our ancient single glazed windows of the season, and I notice your sashes are open wide. Espied you, Mr Pentreath, with HRH and entourage on a tour of Poundbury on our local news last night. Is Charlie going to plant all those bulbs? And yes, please be aware of badgers. Hope we can learn of the planting plan and I’m looking forward to spring. That’ll be some blog. Best, Nicola


8,000 tulips! You obviously don’t have the badgers that we have down in Somerset. Mine are planted in pots in a gated courtyard garden, otherwise the blighters come in and munch their greedy way through the entire lot. Can’t wait to see them in bloom next spring.


Lovely ‘short’ post 🙂 doesn’t it all look special on those frosty mornings. Sorry to say can’t make the party but will at last get to your shop on Friday! Making my way up from the South Coast, don’t know that part of London, so looking forward to checking all out, thanks to all you’re inspiring posts.

Lawns are, in my opinion, over-rated. I cannot wait to see the photos of the thousands of bulbs in bloom. Well done!

Pierre B.says:

“Une rose d’automne est plus qu’une autre exquise.”

Agrippa d’Aubigné

Free translation: “An autumn rose is more than any other exquisite.”

can’t wait to see those tulips in bloom. have a great 7and 1/2 hour long party!

No matter the season Mr. Pentreath, your garden always looks stunning. I can only imagine the delights that will unfurl once your bulbs in their thousands are in bloom. Heaven! For now, I’ll take the romance of frost smothering the landscape.


Your house and garden(s) are perfection. I love reading your posts, always so dreamy, and makes me want to be there.

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