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Moving Schipka Laurel for Rhododendron 'Loderi King George'

Picture it - a 6 ft. tall Schipka Laurel used to stand here (I forgot to take a "before" shot and don't feel like searching for one).  I knew when I planted it that it was probably a bad idea but thought it would be good for a fast-growing screen along the back fence-row. I'm sure all gardeners do this, especially if you have a new garden and are eager for greenery. In all fairness to the laurel, it is a useful plant and I would argue even a beautiful one when nicely maintained. Before I dug this one up, I stood back and admired it and felt the guilt pangs stabbing at my heart.  I removed a much larger laurel than this a few years ago and they are not the easiest plant to dig out. I was determined to save this one and I believe I was successful.  Here is a thought and you can take this to the bank - the pot you choose to hold a plant that you dig up will ALWAYS be too small. Always!  So, after finding the largest pot I could, here it is, after being cut back pretty dr

Beverly Nichols' Merry Hall For Sale

A reader sent me a link to a real estate listing in England (thanks Lynn!) - it is none other than Beverly Nichols' Merry Hall. I wrote a post about Nichols two years ago (two years ago???!!!!

Nichols bought the Georgian manor house, located in Surrey, after World War II. It was the largest home he ever owned and three of his books are set there. He did not live there too long, however, and sold it in 1956.

It can be yours for just £3,250,000. If I had that... (I've always wanted to live there even though I've  never been).

I thought it was interesting that the real estate posting shows the grounds first, quite the opposite of listings here although I'm not sure if all British listings do that. It may be because of the reputation of the garden.

Another famous property closer to home is the Elk Rock Garden at Bishop's Close. This 9-acre property is stunning and on the market for 4.5 million. I've only visited there one time, shortly before moving here, and it was a cold and rainy day. I'm kicking myself for never returning. Let's hope someone will preserve this historic property that was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It appears that the listing is pending...

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I thoroughly enjoy Beverly's writing. I am happy to see these pictures. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. As a rabid anglophile I'd be thrilled to live in the UK, though this house is a tad big for me. I bet the ground keeper's cottage is just perfect though. If you buy it and need a ground's keeper, let me know :-D

  3. Ouch!! Obviously the listing is not intended to attract the average resident.

  4. I like that the way he writes about this garden and home is as my mindset thinks about home and garden. To see/read it actually how large it all is makes my mind shatter.


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