CUTTINGS

What do you do when your glorious garden is replaced by a smouldering wasteland?
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The Independent Culture
Help!" writes Mrs Hilary Unwin from Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire. "What does one do in a garden that is partially destroyed by fire?

"At the height of the current heat wave, our large summer house caught fire. it took with it a 10-metre-high golden Lawsonia, the glory of our garden. Next to it stood a caravan which added to the blaze, and then the plum hedge joined in. We now have more than quarter of an acre with blackened lawn and burnt or browning plants all round.

"None of my gardening books has a section on fire damage. What do we cut down and what do we leave to regenerate? Our insurance will replace the summerhouse, but not the plants."

Is Mrs Unwin alone in experiencing such an upsetting conflagration? Can anyone help her out?

In the Property pages on 5 August we mentioned the sale of the late Sir Frederick Gibberd's house and garden in Old Harlow, Essex. The 14- acre garden is a fine example of 20th-century garden design, and features Corinthian columns, a two-storey gazebo, an avenue of limes, terraces, a brook, a folly and watermeadows. Now Hugh Kerr MEP writes to urge readers not to rush out and buy the garden, but to support a trust that is trying to buy it for the nation. The trust is holding a fund-raising day there this Sunday, and Mr Kerr invites any readers in the Essex area to come along to The House, Marsh Lane, Old Harlow.

Readers with zoom lenses still have a month in which to photograph a "rare or unusual plant". The Suffolk wing of the National Council for the Conservation of Plants & Gardens is holding the competition, and there will be three prizes of pounds 50 each. The winners will also have their photograph used on a set of greetings cards. Send them to: Mrs C Erskine, Felsham House, Felsham, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP3 OQG.

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