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Gardening Must Be Fun demands James Alexander-Sinclair

Possibly every resident of Welton could hear the laughter and appreciation emanating from William Farr School, as James Alexander-Sinclair dazzled an enthralled audience through his presentation Five Gardens, my life.

From the outset, he held his listeners in the palm of his hand, recalling how he stumbled into gardening in London as a young man, and then taking us onwards and upwards through his illustrious career. Or should it be careers?

James Alexander-Sinclair swept into Welton on 30 October to talk about "5 Gardens, my life." No hat? Where was the hat?

Copyright 2014 HPS

We were expecting flamboyance from James and that is certainly what we got! A well- known designer, writer and personality he told us about a tiny London yard which he had totally transformed with diagonal paving and architectural planting.

Copyright 2014 HPS

He moved on to a country project with spectacular views where he used the surrounding landscape to enhance the garden, some seriously huge machinery being involved in the transformation of the soil. As a designer myself I envied him his obviously wealthy clients but the planting in the next gravel garden was free and unpretentious, with ideas that could be transferred to the humblest of sites.

Copyright 2014 HPS

He went on to show us how by simply moving a cramped pair of stone dogs further apart, a dramatic entrance with a focal point of a simple fountain in the distance was formed. The contrast between profuse planting and simple mown grass around water was a continuous theme in the gardens and his plant knowledge was obvious. He shared with us some of his favourites and I scribbled down Epilobium as a must-have although I'm told it runs about.

Copyright 2014 HPS

I wasn't sure about the sentinels of yew dominating the lawn in his previous own garden, but the idea of him sitting high up on the stone steps and guessing which ones his children and their friends hid behind was irresistibly charming.

His final garden brought a poignant note to the evening as he confided that he had sold his home of many years - the sale going through that day - but he was excited about his new garden which was a blank canvas. He had planted countless trees on other people's properties over the years but this was the first time he had trees of his own and he couldn't wait to get started and he finished on a high note leaving us sincerely wondering what he will do next.

Sue Neave. Garden Designer, Hope House Gardens, Caistor.

The Raffle

No gathering of gardeners or garden lovers is complete without a Raffle - and what an amazing Raffle it was with 12 prizes on offer!

We received 4 prize donations, but the Star Prize had to be Pam Richards's very generous gift of a Flight In A Tiger Moth, to take place in 2015. The Flight was won by a startled and bemused Lynne Murdoch, (Lynne is on the left in photograph) much to the amusement of her friends. In fact, some of the audience have threatened to go along to the airfield to watch her escapade.

Lynne is a long-standing HPS member and is currently an organiser of our Lincoln Mini Group, together with her friend, Margaret Mashman.

Photos Below: Chris Hibbins (Ranby) won 2 prizes - a £10 Potterton's Nursery Voucher and a Glass Lantern

Copyright 2014 HPS

Ruth Fowler (Cadney) with her 25 Tulipa Turkestanica Bulbs

Copyright 2014 HPS

Helen Boothman (Grasby) with her bottle of Prosecco.

Copyright 2014 HPS

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