James Alexander Sinclair, the very entertaining gardening journalist, has achieved quite a coup in getting the Sunday Times to devote a whole page in their gardening section to the sale of his home, Blackpitts.
The reason given for the sale is that he and his wife Celestia want to downsize now that their two older children have left home, but the accompanying photos of the garden give the game away. The garden is dominated by a lawn which is studded with what the author Caroline Donald describes as “giant green Mars bars” This rather bizarre description refers to large beech columns which are dotted about the lawn. These columns give the game away- the real reason why they want to flee Blackpitts is that they can’t face another winter looking out onto them. Beech looks gorgeous when it first bursts into leaf in May and stays looking good all summer but it has the unfortunate characteristic of not shedding its leaves in the autumn, so when the leaves turn brown they just stick there. Which means that for six months of the year you aren’t looking out onto lovely green foliage but onto a brown mess.
That, no doubt, is where Caroline Donald got her image of “giant Mars bars”. I don’t blame the Alexander-Sinclairs for wanting to escape and can only hope that they find a buyer before the autumn.