Gardening diary of Dorothy Whiddett relating to her garden at 18 Pytchley Crescent, Upper Norwood, London

Scope and Content

The diary covers the dates 8 Jul-15 Oct between the years 1968 and 1998. Two sides of one page contain all entries made on one calendar day over the 30 year period, although entries were not made every year. There are about 13 entries per date, and there is no consistent pattern of years during which Dorothy Whiddett added to the journals

Information recorded in the diary includes:

Brief report of the weather, sometimes including temperatures: ‘Pouring rain. Roses are sodden and blown to bits’ (17 Jul 1987)

Plants (including named varieties) in flower in and out of the greenhouse: ‘Potentillas best ever. Canary Birds coming into bloom’ (18 Aug 1992)

Tasks carried out: ‘Started taking pipings of Mrs D.U.’s pinks as shown by P. Seabrook on TV. Cut first marrow’ (15 Jul 1976); ‘Planted sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, bought (65p) at Cornwall Gardens plant sale’ (12 Oct 1981)

Pests and diseases: ‘Sprayed all roses with Benlate’ (17 Jul 1984); ‘Slugs have found the basil. Put them into pots’ (26 Jul 1984); ‘Ficus bea [Ficus benjamina] is sticky. So drenched it and others in Spray day. Lots more leaves fell off’ (14 Aug 1985)

Personal entries: ‘Herb Robert and enchanter’s nightshade everywhere. Back pond awful again with weeds. Fed up! 3 Tumblers on bird table dead’ (9 Jul 1998); ‘I still make no progress with A. – he just hasn’t got eyes that see!’ (16 Jul 1997); ‘Told A. to put some tomatoes outside. If only he would do as he is told! Heart breaking’ (17 Jul 1998)

Originally enclosed in the volume, and stored separately for preservation purposes, are press cuttings relating to gardening, 1961-1996, manuscript lists of plants and notes, undated, typescript nursery catalogue of plants by Hillier and Sons of Winchester at RHS Show, London, 3-4 Feb 1970, instruction leaflets for Rotoco potato barrel and Cuthbert’s propagator, undated, prayer list, May 1991, invoice for plants from Alan C. Smith of Tatsfield, Surrey, 1969, and nursery catalogue no 67 of Haskins Nurseries Ltd of Ferndown, Dorset, c.1970