Celebrate creativity with Bucks Art Weeks

Round & About


Bucks Art Weeks, the county’s largest visual arts festival and open studios event, returns, 8th to 23rd June. You’re invited!

Every year in June the bright yellow signs go up across Buckinghamshire, and just across its borders. Often these are put up by individual artists and makers who’ve found the courage to open up their homes or studio to exhibit work to the public. Sometimes they are put up outside venues such as galleries, art centres, churches, barns and village halls where groups of artists gather together to create their displays.

As a visitor you might decide to visit open studios on your doorstep to support artists and to consider buying work. Other visitors plan tours using a town art trail, and can easily spend half a day meeting many of the artists, fuelled by a morning coffee or afternoon tea – many venues offer refreshments in exchange for a charity donation.

The free festival directory and website Bucks Art Weeks offers you a map of the locations of all these creatives. Decide on your stop-offs by looking at the online gallery belonging to each artist or maker, and check opening dates and times, parking, access and whether it’s a working studio with demonstrations. Keep an eye on @bucksartweeksofficial social media too.

One artist taking part for the first time is illustrator Elly Bazigos, whose work will be on show at Amersham Museum. She says: “I love interpreting history through illustration and drawing to process my experiences. Sometimes I even work like people in days gone by – I draw using a nib taped to a twig! For the museum, I hand painted more than 35 illustrations bringing Amersham history to life, bringing colour and charm to the timeline. Working with the museum is a pleasure. It’s small but mighty and I’m thrilled to be featured.”

An established favourite venue is Where Inspiration Blooms at Holy Trinity Church in Penn Street. Each year a diverse group of artists show their work here, and this year there are landscape paintings, ink prints, kiln-formed glass, ceramics, wildlife paintings, hand embroidered textiles and stained glass. Mia Babb, one of the artists, creates pen and ink drawings, often embellished with gold leaf. “I’m excited to be exhibiting with a talented, diverse group at a lovely venue which includes a brilliant pop-up cafe,” she tells us.

If you’re looking for something unique for your wardrobe, you could visit Sarah Ives in Lane End, who makes hand dyed and printed textiles. She says: “I discovered botanical printing and natural dyeing in 2019. I’ve always loved nature and crafts so it seemed a perfect fit, which quickly became a passion! I use plants, flowers and leaves to hand dye and print textiles. I create wearable art from natural fibres such as silk, wool, linen, leather and cotton, using crafts I love: sewing, crochet and weaving. You can often find me gathering the leaves, flowers, and plants from my garden where I grow my own flowers to use for dyeing and printing.”

Princes Risborough artist Christine Bass has been part of Bucks Art Weeks for an amazing 19 years, and she is the cover artist for this year’s directory with a lovely field of poppies. She paints her contemporary landscapes using acrylics with a collage base, and much of her work is inspired by the Ridgeway Path and the Chilterns countryside. Strong lines and shapes, flattened planes and saturated colour characterise a style that has won her many accolades. She is exhibiting among nine artists who are showing paper sculpture, ceramics, mosaics and jewellery at the medieval St Dunstan’s Church in Monks Risborough.

Did you know there is a new art gallery in Great Missenden? Hanks Gallery recently opened on the High Street. Claudine Hanks grew up in Little Kingshill and has lived in Prestwood for 17 years. She named the gallery in tribute to her father who sadly passed away when she was 10.

“I love the village,” says Claudine. “The countryside, community, knowing so many people when you pop to pubs and the gym. And the locals are delighted to have a gallery back on the High Street. It’s always been my dream to own an art gallery and exhibit my creations. I love what I do. And, knowing that people love my work too, well that’s simply… amazing.”

As a child Claudine loved to draw and paint. After passing her GCSEs at Rickmansworth Masonic School, then art A Level at The Misbourne, she gained an art foundation qualification at Bucks College. Claudine, who lives with her partner Kate, is also a graphic designer and proud owner of design agency, Blooberry Creative, an agency that helps businesses and charities with their branding, websites, campaigns and more. You can find out more at blooberrycreative.co.uk

Busy Claudine is also a DJ who founded OUR HOUSE which hosts local house music events. She adds: “I’m looking forward to the Our House day event on Sunday, 25th August at Magnolia Park in Wycombe. I’m DJing as well as my partner Kate and a host of other DJs. Tickets are available on Eventbrite, so see you there!”

Hanks Gallery will be open during Bucks Art Weeks and alongside Claudine’s work you can enjoy works by animal artist Sue Sibley. For more details please visit hanks gallery – art gallery

The Rowsham Creatives group at Manor Farm are busy bees. Before Bucks Art Weeks begins, on 1st June, they’ll host a fundraising event for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust with special guest actress Gill Wright (Jean Slater from EastEnders). Then throughout the festival fortnight there will be workshops for children (and adults) including: glass fusing, card making, drawing people, collages, painting in acrylic, pottery and print making. Find events and book in for a creative workshop at Rowsham Creatives – Manor Farm Fused Glass

Katrina Shearlaw, a glass artist who hosts the group in her studio, tells us: “I’m supporting six other artists, four of whom have never participated in the event before. It’s important to be able to support one another during this time and to keep art alive! I’m so excited to host my first charity event in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Gill is a friend of mine and her sister Lois was diagnosed with secondary progressive MS 25 years ago when she was in her 30s. It is a charity close to my heart as it has affected family and friends too, and with more than 130,000 people living with various types of MS in the UK so I’m delighted to help the cause.”

Once again The Boathouse Studio in Bourne End will welcome visitors to admire its beautiful leaded stained glass for the home and garden. Also in Bourne End, artist, painter and illustrator Sarah Luton will welcome visitors to her studio to see her wonderful local landscapes and portrait paintings: please visit sarahluton.com for a sneak peak!

Guildford Fringe is a cut above

Round & About


Guildford Fringe Festival 2024 announces this year’s line-up running from 29th June to 20th July including the return of its popular free music performances

Guildford Fringe Festival (GuildfordFringeFestival.com), which is now in its 11th year, will return for a three-week run of theatre, comedy, spoken word, music, cabaret and family-friendly shows! All at accessible prices and with some top free entertainment on the bill. 

The beautiful historic Guildhall balcony on Guildford High Street becomes the stage for a free evening of Opera on the Balcony on 30 June with arias and duets from well-loved composers such as Puccini, Verdi, Mozart, Lehár and more. This is followed by Bluebirds on the Balcony on 6 July showcasing the talents of the vintage close harmony trio. There is no need to book, just bring a blanket or chair, and settle in to be entertained. 

Charlotte Wyschna, Managing Director of Guildford Fringe Festival, said: “Since our Founder Nick Wyschna set up Guildford Fringe Festival back in 2013, we have been proud to offer open access to performers and shows, and have kept ticket prices as low as possible, with an average ticket costing £10. We have remained committed to this value particularly at a time when costs are making it harder for many people to access festivals and venues around the UK. As Guildford’s largest independent multi-arts festival, we champion up and coming talent as well as providing a welcoming environment for established names to share their Work in Progress, giving our Festival audiences the chance to ‘hear it first’. As always, we are grateful to our audiences, funders, performers and venues with a heartfelt thank you to Experience Guildford and Chapters Financial for their ongoing support.”  

The 2024 Guildford Fringe Festival programme is as time of writing as follows (‘Free Fringe’ events marked*; family-friendly events marked +; WIP – Work in Progress):

Comedy: Bright Club Does Guildford Fringe, Darren Walsh: New Puns, Ingenious Fools presents Disabled Cants, Blue Badge Brunch+, Richard Pulsford: Get Rich Quick, Plastic Jeezus – Leave Them Wanting Less, Jake Baker: Union Sundown (WIP), Bexual Healing, Marjolein Robertson (WIP), Nathan Cassidy: International Man of Mestory, Madame Chandelier Saves Opera, Why I Chase Comedians and Other Bipolar Tales, Laughs and Tricks (Stephen Owen and Phil Turner), CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation, The Foraging Fan Club, Susie McCabe (WIP), Sam Love: Thirties (WIP), Mark Nicholas: This Is Not The Autistic You Are Looking For, Joe Wells (WIP), Phil Green: Guilt, Samantha Day: The Generations Game, Benny Shakes: Respect (WIP), Abi Clarke: Try Hard (WIP), Jack Skipper (WIP), Danny Buckler: Danny Does Vegas!, Katie Pritchard: I Kiss The Music, Juliette Burton: Hopepunk (WIP), Juliette Burton: Going Rogue (WIP), GROTTO, Charis King: Wummy (WIP), Fatiha El-Ghorri: Cockney Stacking Doll (WIP), Dylan Dodds: GroundDodds Day, Adrian Poynton: Ashes, Brits Abroad: Banned, Improv Wolves, Taxi Driver. 

Theatre: Stabbed From Behind – The Adult Murder Mystery, A Double Bill of New Writing from Performance Preparation Academy (PPA), The Regina Monologues by Rebecca Russell & Jenny Wafer, It’s a beautiful day! +, The Lucky and Ducky Show+, Zombie Chicken+, Bethnal Green, Living The Dream, The Bear and The Stronger, Through the Looking Glass+, Destination: ‘Old Hag’, Buried Denmark.

Live Music: Opera on the Balcony*+, Sinatra at Sunset+, Indigo Rocks, Madame Chandelier Saves Opera, Bluebirds on the Balcony*+, Café de Swing+, Opera in the Meadows, Liz Simcock in Concert+ (all proceeds to North Guildford Food Bank), What You Will+, Brian Houston Live at Clandon Wood+, Rock Choir Day*, Becoming Tosca, Open Mic Night at Sequoia Yoya*.

Spoken Word: Drag Story Time with That Girl*+, Robert Garnham: Juicy, Chris The Postman Poet: Existentially Yours.

Cabaret: The Harvey Juggling Show, Matt Daniel-Baker – The Mind Reader, The Goose and The Crow – Sinister Songbook, Drag Bottomless Brunch Bash, Dry Bottomless Brunch with That Girl+, Cabaret Drag Night with That Girl, Cabaret Drag Night with Mama Tasty, Cabaret Drag Night with Saffron Slayter, Drag Bingo With That Girl, 80s Daytime Disco Bottomless Brunch, Cabaret Drag Nigh with Big Liz

Other events: Write soon! A Writing Workshop with Paul Kerensa, Movie and a Meal (Churchill, Romance and Cigarettes and Life of Brian).

This year’s festival venues are Clandon Wood Nature Reserve, Guildford High Street, Guildford Library, Holy Trinity Church, St Mary’s Church, The Fallen Angel, The Guildhall, The Keep Pub, The Star Inn and The Stoke Pub. 

Tickets are now on sale via GuildfordFringeFestival.com or call the Box Office on 01483 361101. During the Festival, there will be also a daily Box Office at The Star Inn, Quarry Street, from 6-7pm. A great place to catch the Festival team for their top tips on what’s taking place. 

Best of Bucks with Alexandra Lhomond

Liz Nicholls


Alexandra Lhomond, 28, marketing manager at Ibanista, tells us about swapping the Mediterranean for Bucks

Q. Hello Alexandra. How are you?
“Life’s a whirlwind of excitement! I’ve got my hands full at Ibanista, where we help expats navigate the currency landscape. I love helping people realise their dreams! My husband started the venture two years ago and I joined last year. But the real joy? My little boy, Lucas. He’s two and a half and has a knack for melting hearts with his bright blue eyes and blonde hair – the total opposite of me! And let’s not forget my cats, Sushi and Katsu.”

Q. Where do you live?
“In High Wycombe. I made the leap across the channel from the sunny shores of southern France seven years ago. Trust me, the transition was quite the change of scenery! I can’t help but miss the sea and sun, but there’s something special about the English countryside that’s grown on me.”

Q. What do you most love about where you live?
“I love that it’s so close to London, but also so close to nature. Bucks has the best of both worlds. I go on long walks and there are so many different routes here. We live across from The Rye Park, and every season I enjoy seeing the leaves change.”

Q. And what’s one thing maybe you’d change?
“It’s disheartening to see the town centre’s decline, with numerous shops and restaurants shuttered. I hope things get better.”

Q. What are your favourite local pubs or restaurants?
“The Beech House in Beaconsfield & the Wild Strawberry Café and Barn Kitchen at Peterley Manor Farm in Great Missenden are personal favourites – serving great food with a fantastic atmosphere. When guests visit, it’s a muse to treat them to The Royal Standard of England in Beaconsfield – one of England’s oldest pubs.”

Q. What about shops or local businesses?
“The Front Room and Django’s are my top picks for cosy vibes and delicious coffee. As for shopping, I love Søstrene Grene – I can spend forever just looking at everything.”

Q. What’s your local hidden gem?
“Our go-to spot on weekends is Black Park in Wexham. No matter how often we go, we always get lost in the forest! Another favourite is the serene walk along the Thames from Bourne End to Marlow.”

Q. What highlights are you looking forward to?
“Summer holidays for sure! I’m heading to the South of France to reunite with my family. It’s a time for beach days, sea breezes, and indulging in the simple pleasures of good food and wine. At Ibanista, we’re dedicated to simplifying foreign currency exchange, particularly for expats, with a focus on Brits or US citizens making the move to France. Our calendar is packed with exciting events, from engaging podcast episodes to webinars. Check out our blog, brimming with valuable resources for anyone considering a move abroad, investing overseas, or retirement overseas.”

Q. Are you a member of any local groups?
“When I was on maternity leave, I used to go to the High Wycombe Mums Meet-Up. It’s a really supportive and friendly group for new mums.”

Q. What would you wish for the world?
“Peace! With so much turmoil and conflict, my deepest hope is an end to wars and conflicts.”

Visit Ibanista | Personalised Currency Solutions for Expats

Vox pop Q&A with Roger Runswick

Liz Nicholls


We chat to Roger Runswick, dad, DIY lover & founder & director of The 50plus, about his best bits of Bucks

Q. Hi Roger. Where do you live & what do you enjoy doing?
“I’m 72 and I still work full-time. I’ve lived in Chesham since the late 1970s (but with spells abroad for work). I have two adult children. My hobbies (and work!) are software coding, DIY (what a surprise!), applying technology in the home and (mostly) pleasure maintaining an old Morgan car and producing garden figures in acrylic.”

Q. Where are your favourite local haunts?
“I love walking in the Chilterns, The Grand Union Canal and the BBOWT [Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust] reserves such as College Lake in Tring. I occasionally cycle, particularly along the Phoenix Trail from Princes Risborough to Thame – great for us oldies as being an old railway it’s reasonably level and Thame is a great coffee/snack halfway stop before returning.”

Q. What do you most love about where you live?
“Who can complain about living in the Chilterns? An AONB with marvellous countryside coupled with easy access to London and transport links!”

“Who can complain about living in the Chilterns?”

Q. What don’t you like so much?
“We’ve all got our gripes at the moment but as someone running a business what I’d really like is a few years without political instability, epidemics, wars so the global ‘we’ can instil confidence and grow the economy (politicians please take note!)”

Q. What are your favourite local pubs or restaurants?
“We often eat in Amersham. I’d mention the Pomeroy, Zaza, Bistro Twelve Twenty and Seasons Café.”

Q. What about shops or local businesses – any in particular you love to mooch round, or any worthy of a mention?
“Being a (possibly typical) male, I shop when I need something and ‘mooching’ is unusual for me. That usually means shopping for birthdays and Christmas when I certainly like the street markets where I can find unique gifts. I also like Amersham Owned and its partner bookshop Chapter Two in Chesham. Both are Hospice of St Francis shops and well worth a visit.”

Q. Where is your favourite local landmark or hidden secret locally?
“I suspect most people know about Wendover Woods, Coombe Hill and the Little Missenden to Amersham river walk but all are to commended.”

Q. What highlights are you looking forward to?
“The first is spring and summer and hopefully less rain this year! A warm summer providing plenty of opportunity for garden works, walks and open-top car drives to some favourite destinations, especially the Chinnor & Princes Risborough railway for a good breakfast and a train ride if it takes your fancy.”

Q. What’s on the horizon for your business?
“The 50plus is a business that provides a very broad range of home maintenance and improvement services. The name originally derived from the age of the service providers (the plumbers, electricians, and handypersons etc) but the company’s domestic customer base demographic and service offering is orientated toward the more mature customer – although the level of customer service finds fans across a broad age range.”

Visit The 50plus

Summer sizzlers

Round & About


June heralds the start of summer and that means one thing – spending time in the garden with your nearest and dearest with a drink in one hand and a burger in the other, enjoy!

Can there be anything better than enjoying lazy summer days in the company of friends and family soaking up the sun’s rays while sipping something cool and refreshing in your garden?

With the image in your head and before you reach for another ice cube to plonk in that drink, there’s some prep to do.

There’s something special about sitting out eating on your patio or decking that feels almost luxurious, perhaps thoughts of sun-soaked holidays are in your mind, so how to recreate that at home.*

Imagine your outdoor space is another room in your home, the lawn is the carpet, plants the decoration, you get the idea so just as you’d fashion your indoor space why not do the same outdoors with a few additions / exceptions / tweaks.

The biggest difference of course, is that you are outdoors so top priority has to be shelter or a shade of some variety to allow for the vagaries of the great British weather. We all know how unpredictable it can be but don’t let that deter you and yours from dining al fresco. Shades, sails and awnings have become popular in recent years to add a stylish touch and are the ideal way to protect you from a shower and also to ward off excess heat. Depending on your home and garden, perhaps a pergola, gazebo or lean to is a more permanent option?

Bridge the gap between home and garden with a sleek, high quality, durable awning from Outashade. Available in a variety of styles from traditional to contemporary, they feature modern hard wearing fabrics and boast lightweight folding arms. Most awnings are motorised now, but they also offer manual operation for less frequent use. Outashade give you a shaded patio and a cool home – a winning formula. Visit outashade.com to view the full range of their products.

Don’t neglect your ‘flooring’ once you’ve dealt with the ‘ceiling’. A large colourful rug enhances the indoors out idea, hard wearing and weather resistant, they’ll add to the outdoor lounge look.

If it’s going to be a late night, you’ll need some well-thought out lighting to keep the party going – solar powered ones are a popular choice, from strings of fairy lights to lantern styles available in brilliant or warm white or add a splash of colour.

You’ve created your ‘room’ so now it’s time for the good stuff, bring on the food and drink. Perhaps you’re a stalwart fan of the original BBQ, no summer garden feast is complete without one, whether it’s the traditional kettle style, gas powered for cheats, or you’ve gone the whole hog and got a brick built one and talking of brick built additions, pizza ovens have grown in popularity over the past few years and with an endless array of toppings to choose from to conjure up your perfect pizza, why wouldn’t you?

If you’re in need of inspiration, head to Ascot Racecourse on July 20th and 21st for Smoke and Fire Festival where you can enjoy family fun with gourmet barbeque flavours from award-winning street food vendors and pop-up restaurants. Get up close with live fire and BBQ demos and smokers. Rides, workshops, a mini real ale and cider festival and live music all add to the entertainment.

If space allows and you really want to go all out then there’s no better way to really bring the indoors out than with an outdoor kitchen, guaranteed to add the wow factor.

Storage space is a useful addition so you can leave some utensils there permanently and of course, the obligatory chef’s apron, while a fresh herb garden will enhance the flavours of your food for extra special finishing touches.

You can’t enjoy the full al fresco experience without a drink, outdoor bars became all the rage during that time a few years ago when we couldn’t go out but as long as you’ve got plenty of ice you’ll be doing fine.

Family-run Bourne Buildings in Farnham supply quality garden buildings of all structures, designs and styles fit for all budgets and all gardens. From sheds, greenhouses and playhouses to garden offices, summerhouses, workshops and garden bars, there’s sure to be a building that’s perfect for your garden and your needs. How about an open-sided structure where you can dine looking out over your garden to enjoy the summer fun. See what’s on offer at Bourne Buildings Ltd

There’s a great summer of sport ahead of us with the Euros from June 14th to July 14th, swiftly followed by the Olympics, July 26th to August 11th, and you won’t want to miss a minute so how about adding a big screen to complete your entertaining?

Of course, there’ll be times when you just want someone else to do the entertaining so make the most of our wonderful local pubs in the summer and chill out in one of their gardens with a beer or the quintessential summer drink, a Pimm’s.

* Sun not guaranteed!

Booming good bakes for garden parties

Round & About


We’re serving up a slice of inspiration ahead of the National Garden Scheme’s Great British Garden Party, raising funds for great causes

Victoria Sponge with a twist
This recipe comes from Sarah Prall

• 175g self-raising flour
• 175g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
• 175g caster or vanilla sugar (plus a little extra to finish)
• 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
• 250g mascarpone
• 150ml double cream
• Punnet of raspberries
• 3-4 tbsp soft set raspberry jam
• 2 tbsp fine white sugar
• 1 tsp rose extract
• Pinch of sea salt
• Garden roses to decorate

• Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4, Prepare two 8″ cake tins, well greased and then lined.
• Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and put aside.
• In a large mixing bowl beat the butter to a cream.
• Add the caster sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is very light and creamy.
• Add the eggs, about a quarter at a time, adding 1 tbsp of the weighed-out-flour with each addition and beating thoroughly before adding the next. Beat in the rose extract with the last of the egg
• Sift in the rest of the flour, half at a time, and use a large metal spoon to carefully fold it in.
• Divide the mixture equally between the prepared cake tins, spreading it out lightly and evenly with the back of a spoon. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the cakes are lightly golden and spring back into shape when gently pressed.
• Leave the cakes in the tins for a couple of minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
• Make the rose and mascarpone cream.
• Beat together cream, mascarpone, and a couple of drops of rose extract in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
• Add sugar gradually, mixing continuously until frosting is smooth and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
• Use immediately or store covered in the refrigerator.
• When the cakes are cold, spread one cake with the raspberry jam, and add a layer of fresh raspberries.
• Spread half the mascarpone cream over the other cake and gently place on top of raspberry layer.
• Spread the remaining cream mixture on to the top of the cake and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve dress the cake with fresh garden roses.
* For an extra special twist, if you have any, place three or four deliciously scented geranium leaves, such as Mabel Grey or Attar of Roses, in the base of the lined tin. Remove when the cake is turned out to cool.

Lisa’s zingy lemon drizzle cake
Lisa from Thames Hospice has shared their zingy lemon drizzle cake recipe.

Ingredients for the cake
• 125g butter (room temperature)
• 175g caster sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 175g self-raising flour
• 4 tbs milk
• Zest of 1½ lemons (unwaxed)

Ingredients for the lemon syrup:
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 100g icing sugar

Ingredients for the lemon icing:
• 75g icing sugar (sieved)
• Juice of ½ lemon

• Preheat your oven 180C / 160C (fan) / Gas Mark 4
• Butter and line a 450g loaf tin
• Make the sponge by creaming the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time along with a little of the flour (this stops your mixture splitting) add the lemon zest , beat well. Add the remaining flour, fold in gently but thoroughly, followed by the milk. Spoon mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake for approx. 45 mins (ovens vary so do keep an eye on it!) it should be golden, risen and a skewer (or knife) when inserted should come out clean. If you find it is browning too quickly you can place a piece of foil over the top.
• While your cake is baking, make the lemon syrup by adding the lemon juice and icing sugar to a small saucepan and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved.
• When your cake is baked remove from the oven and puncture the top of the cake all over (use a skewer, knife of long pronged fork). Pour over the syrup ensuring it covers the top of the cake evenly, don’t worry your cake will absorb all the syrup like a sponge!
• Leave your cake to cool completely before removing the tin, don’t be impatient!
• Once the cake is cold, carefully remove from the tin and place on a plate.
• Make the lemon icing by sieving the icing sugar into a bowl and bit by bit adding lemon juice until a smooth, thick (but still pourable) icing is made, you may not use all the lemon juice or you may need to add a little boiling water to slacken if not enough. Drizzle the icing over the cake however you wish, let the icing set then enjoy!

For more inspiration on planning your own party, or to donate to life-changing charities, please visit ngs.org.uk/gardenparty/.

Mad about the blooms

Karen Neville


Summer is on the horizon bringing with it warmer days, hopefully plenty of sun and the glorious sight and scent of roses blossoming and spreading their joy

Our most popular flower is rich in symbolism and history featuring in literature, music, heritage, as our national flower, in skin care products and as the emblem for many sports teams.

Classic and instantly recognisable, they are ideal for almost every style of garden, flowering abundantly from early summer in pastel shades of pink, peach, cream or snowy-white; vibrant yellow and gold; orange, crimson and red.

And as any gardener will tell you, there are a few essential rose rules to ensure ‘everything comes up roses’.

Round & About gardening expert Cathie Welch will tell you “It’s all in the pruning!” and advises “before you prune, know your rose type and sharpen your secateurs to avoid damage.”

She adds: “Make sure you cut correctly in the right place. Dead heading throughout the summer and winter pruning should all be cut to ideally pencil thickness growth to encourage more flowers. Cut out dead and weak growths as well as congested growth and don’t forget the suckers which come from the wild rootstock.”

Ramblers are in full bloom at this time of year and to ensure an attractive abundance in future, she says: “After flowering has finished prune out some of the flowered shoots and tie in the annoying long ones that you have wanted to cut off because these will produce next year’s flowers.”

And remember to dead head throughout the summer.

If you prefer to admire the beauty of roses and take in the rich fragrance from someone else’s handiwork there are plenty of gorgeous English gardens full of stately blooms.

There are more than a thousand Old English rose bushes to take in at Loseley Park, Guildford which can be seen at their best at this of year. Nearby at RHS Wisley, the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden boasts a contemporary design combining roses with evergreen shrubs, herbaceous plants, bulbs and clipped yews. Look out for some spectacular blooms into autumn.

Visit The Six Quarters at Gilbert White’s House in Selborne and be greeted by summer beds containing different species of old rose planted in among lavender, geraniums, dianthus, foxglove and columbine.

You’d expect the National Trust to offer up some of the best gardens to wander through and these don’t disappoint. There’s A Celebration of Roses at Polesden Lacey, June 8th to July 14th, where the walled gardens hold more than 35 varieties and over 100 rambling roses form tunnels of petals over the pergola leading to the central wishing well. Bright yellow blooms mix with more subtle pale pinks. The celebration offers the opportunity to learn more about the blooms, the garden’s history and the work that goes into maintaining it. View metal rose installations made by charity the Camelia Botnar Foundation which provides residential training and work experience to young people. The roses in the installation are for sale and can be collected after the celebration has finished.

The Rose Garden at Nymans in Sussex boasts more than 600 bushes – their heady scent carries a long way, notably on a warm summer’s day, mingling with the lavendar.

The more than 100 varieties blooming at Hinton Ampner near Alresford are sure to feature in the Festival of Flowers from June 8th to 30th which celebrates the art of flower arranging as part of Hinton in Bloom: Summer where you can wind your way through the walled garden to the parterre, look for the rose motifs and breathe in their scent throughout the month.

The walled gardens at Mottisfont near Romsey are home to a collection of pre-1900 shrub roses. This year, Mottisfont is marking 50 years since the collection was brought to the grounds to be enjoyed by all and how they are preparing for climate challenges of the future. The gardens are open until 8pm through to June 29th affording longer for you to appreciate them and on 7th, 14th and 21st you can enjoy live jazz, wine tastings and wine for sale from award-winning Hampshire vineyard Black Chalk.

Take in the scent of the contemporary Rose Garden with its viewing platform overlooking the roses as well as the garden beyond at Savill Garden and immerse yourself in the old fashioned scented French musk roses inter-planted with a wide range of shrubs and perennials.

The start of July brings the glorious Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, 2nd to 7th, where you can’t fail to be inspired by the beautiful show gardens and ‘get started’ gardens created by new designers with innovative ideas, beautiful plants and detailed landscaping.

Mad about the blooms

Liz Nicholls


Summer is on the horizon bringing with it warmer days, hopefully plenty of sun and the glorious sight and scent of roses blossoming & spreading their joy

Which country is one of the world’s largest suppliers of roses with 54% of its land filled with the fragrant flower? Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed Ecuador where the natural light provides the perfect year-round climate for them to thrive.

How about the most expensive rose in the world? The David Austin Juliet Rose, named after Shakespeare’s tragic heroine, was developed over the course of 15 years at a cost of a whopping £2.3million. The delicate apricot coloured large headed blooms were first displayed at Chelsea Flower Show in 2006.

More rose facts: the oldest living one is 1,000 years old and can be found on the wall of the Cathedral of Hildesheim in Germany, all varieties of rose are edible and the earliest rose fossils have been discovered in Colorado dating back 35 million years.

The most popular flower is rich in symbolism and history featuring in literature, music, heritage, as our national flower, in skincare and as the emblem for many sports team. Classic and instantly recognisable, they are ideal for almost every style of garden, flowering abundantly from early summer in pastel shades of pink, peach, cream or snowy-white; vibrant yellow and gold; orange, crimson and red. As any gardener will tell you, there are a few rose rules to ensure ‘everything comes up roses’.

Round & About gardening guru Cathie Welch says: “It’s all in the pruning! Before you prune, know your rose type and sharpen your secateurs. Cut correctly in the right place, dead heading throughout summer. Winter pruning should be cut to ideally pencil thickness to encourage more flowers. Cut out dead, weak and congested growth and don’t forget the suckers which come from the wild rootstock.”

Ramblers are in full bloom at this time of year and to ensure an attractive abundance, she adds: “After flowering has finished prune out some of the flowered shoots and tie in the annoying long ones that you have wanted to cut off because these will produce next year’s flowers.”

If you prefer to admire the beauty of roses and take in the rich fragrance from someone else’s handiwork there are plenty of gorgeous English gardens full of stately blooms.

The Rose Garden at Cliveden, SL1 8NS, is a heavenly place to visit, tucked away in a grove of mature trees. The contrast of the natural setting with the formality of the rose garden and its riot of colour and fragrance makes it feel like a magical secret garden. Wander under climbing rose arches with every colour from palest lemon to vibrant oranges to velvety dark crimson. With more than 900 in the summer-long display you’re sure to find a favourite.

Visit Waddesdon Manor, HP18 0JH, this month for the sweet scent of the rose garden from the colourful blooms filling the stately setting. The beds in the aviary and parterre have been decorated with colour influenced by Victorian-inspired planting.

Ruby Wax MBE on tour

Liz Nicholls


Liz Nicholls chats to author, comedian & mental health campaigner Ruby Wax whose I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was UK tour has been extended by popular demand

Q. Hello Ruby. I loved your book, I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was – it helped me a lot. Do you think it’s your best?
“Oh thank you, that means a lot. Well, I’m not sure but being on tour with this book has been the most fun, so that’s a clue. And I love it when people talk to me afterwards to say they feel less alone. So there is a reward for me ending up in a mental institution, after all.”

Q. One thing I loved was that you discovered your love for your husband Ed, your ‘rock’…?
“Yes, we never say stuff like that. Eddie’s sitting in front of me now, and he’s thrilled. No, we’re not a lovey-dovey couple at all, that’s why it’s lasted so long. That and distance.”

Q. Did you enjoy studying for your master’s [in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy] at Oxford Uni?
“Oh yeah! My favourite expression now is ‘I went to Oxford’. I was in Summertown so it wasn’t quite the cloistered, beautiful Oxford that everybody pictures but I was so entranced by the subject, the mind, the neuroscience of it. I said to them: if you don’t let me in I’m going to study it anyway.”

Q. How important is ritual in your life?
“Really important. I don’t have enough because I don’t have religion – I wish I did. I have to do mindfulness every day. It’s a work-out for the mind otherwise I’m all over the place.

Q. You were so honest with Louis Theroux on his Grounded podcast and it led to you being on TV more again. How do you feel about him now?
“I think what a decent human being he is. I didn’t do that interview so I could get back on TV. But it was a sweet thing he did. And, really, the man knows how to interview. So that’s fine: I can see the attraction now.”

Q. You made your name interviewing people, and doing it well. How do you feel about Donald Trump now?
“Let’s not discuss it: it’s too upsetting.”

Q. Is there anyone you’d like to interview?
“Not really. The people who I’d really like to speak too are vary of a camera. In politics now you couldn’t get to anybody or get any answers out of them, so what’s the point?”

Q. Do you watch much telly?
“Only Netflix and Amazon. No terrestrial or news; too many weapons of mass distraction, it creates a sense of terror we don’t need. But Married At First Sight Australia is a masterpiece. I’ve got a fan group and won’t have anything said against it.”

Q. What’s your favourite book?
“Too hard but A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and Falling Upward by Richard Rorh are both brilliant.”

Q. Who would you choose as your dream parents, as obsessed to the parents you had?
“Hmm. Maybe Barack and Michelle Obama? They’d be great”

Q. Would you have liked to have a sibling to help you feel less alone as a child?
“It would have been nice but I’ll never know. You might want a brother or sister but what if they just spent their life beating you up?”

Q. If you had a magic wand what would you wish for?
“That people would be less savage. But that’s not going to happen.”

Q. Do you enjoy being on tour?
“I’m happier being on tour than doing anything else. I love being on trains, in a different hotel every night, and I love exploring the town I’m in and chatting to people after the show. I’m curious and I like to investigate each town. Coping with real life, that’s the tricky bit, but never touring.”

Visit rubywax.net for tour dates & more.

Newbury Spring Festival piano competition winner

Round & About


The Sheepdrove Piano Competition is one of the highlights of the glorious fortnight of world class in Newbury and the surrounding villages

Now in its 15th year, the annual Sheepdrove Piano Competition – held during Newbury Spring Festival – has been won by Misha Kaploukhii, a student from the Royal College of Music.

Born in 2002, Misha is an alumnus of the Moscow Gnessin College of Music. He is currently studying at the Royal College of Music and is an ABRSM award holder generously supported by the Eileen Rowe Trust, Keyboard Trust, Drake Calleja Trust and The Robert Turnbull Foundation, studying for a Bachelor of Music with Professor Ian Jones. He was thrilled to receive a full scholarship from the Royal College of Music for two years of postgraduate studies.

Image: Milly March

Misha has gained inspiration from lessons and masterclasses with musicians such as Claudio Martínez Mehner,  Dmitri Bashkirov, Jerome Lowenthal, Konstantin Lifschitz and Dame Imogen Cooper. His performances with orchestras around the world include debuts in Cadogan Hall playing Rachmaninov’s First Concerto with YMSO and James Blair, Liszt’s Second Concerto with RCM Symphony Orchestra with Adrian Partington, and a very recent performance of Rachmaninov’s Fourth Concerto performed with the Albion Orchestra.

As a soloist he often performs across London in venues like St Mary’s Perivale, St James Piccadilly and Razumovsky Academy with a wide range of solo and chamber repertoire.

Misha’s recent prizes include RCM Concerto Competition, International Ettlingen Piano Competition, Sheepdrove Piano Competition and the Hopkinson Gold Medal at the Chappel Medal Competition.

The competition, which is open to current students at the UK’s eight major music colleges, does not charge an entry fee to participants and this year celebrated Chopin’s 150th anniversary. After a private first round with just the panel in attendance, the final happened before an audience on Sunday 19th May in the beautiful setting of Sheepdrove Eco Centre, in the rolling Lambourn hills.

Alongside the £3,000 prize money from the Kindersley Prize, Misha Kaploukhii also gave a recital at Newbury Corn Exchange, part of Newbury’s Spring Festival’s popular Young Artist Recital series. Misha also won the audience prize, of £250 (donated by an anonymous donor).

The second prize, of £1,500 (donated by the Greenham Trust), was won by Kasparas Mikuzis a student at the Royal Academy of Music.

The third prize, of £750 (donated by the Friends of Newbury Spring Festival), was won by Yuxuan Zhao, a student at the Royal Northern College of Music.

The fourth prize, of £500 (donated by an anonymous donor), was won by Max Artemenko a student a Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

The Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation winners are Angeliki Giannopoulou from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Xizong Chen from the Royal Northern College of Music.

Mark Eynon, Festival Director, said: “It has been an honour to host some of the best students from the UK’s conservatoires in such a beautiful space. As ever, we witnessed piano playing of incredible standard, and the judges felt that Misha’s performance was particularly impressive this year.

“We are proud to continue to policy of always providing travel, subsistence and accommodation expenses for all competitors, and all four finalists have left with a financial prize. I am forever grateful to the Sheepdrove Trust for their continued generous support for the competition as we celebrate its 15th year.””