Anna Pavord

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Anna Pavord: Hotfoot it to Rousham House to appreciate William Kent's landscaping

The exhibition on William Kent, Designing Georgian Britain, closes tomorrow at the V&A museum in London. But to understand the genius of the man, you need to spend a day in one of his gardens (preferably Rousham), not trapped among his architectural drawings. And Rousham is open every day. Stand by the majestic Scheemakers statue at Rousham (a bloodthirsty subject: a lion attacking a horse) and gaze out over the river Cherwell to the peaceful landscape on the far side – a kind of promised land. Follow the sinuous rill out of the shady woodland down to the elegant octagon pool and marvel that Rousham still has magic, still has soul, still speaks to us of the man who had so much to do with its making.

Enhance their performance: New shoots of wisteria

Anna Pavord: Fig trees are robust, flexible and, of course, the fruit is delicious

Figs are great survivors, hanging on in old gardens long after the lawns and walls on which they were displayed have disappeared. There was one in our old place, where, after 18 months of hacking, we discovered we had a walled garden. It took about 15 years to get that plot back into full production, and the fig was one of the first things we tackled, once we had cleared a way through to it. The stone wall against which it must once have been trained was still standing (south-facing), but the tree had long since broken its moorings and arched out over about 20 feet of ground, its huge leathery leaves unmistakeable among the brambles and seedling sycamores.

Weekend work: Time to shear over rock plants

WHAT TO DO

The wonderfully scented regal lily, which is easy to grow from seed

Anna Pavord's top tips on the flowers to plant for a sweeter-smelling patch

Colour may be all-important in a garden, but don’t forget scent, says our horticultural expert

The best gardens all had proper hedges: including this native hawthorn hedge in Hugo Bugg's gold-medal winning plot

Anna Pavord: This year's Chelsea Flower Show surprised me with its emphasis on planting that you might find in a real garden

Very rarely does the Chelsea Flower Show set a trend in gardening, but it often reflects shifts that have been going on for some time in the real world. At this year's show, there was a welcome move away from dark, claret-saturated plantings: maroon astrantia, purple-leaved geranium, interspersed with blobs of knautia. This colour palette was arresting when it was first introduced at Chelsea in the garden made for Gardens Illustrated by Piet Oudolf and Arne Maynard. But that was in 2000. And we've learnt how drab those plantings look in a typical British summer of grey clouds and rain.

Weekend Work: Time to cut back broom

WHAT TO DO

Southern belle: Anna Pavord is bowled over by an ultra-modern, ingeniously landscaped plot

Helen Marsden is opening her garden in Dulwich Village tomorrow - and its quite the best thing of its kind our gardening correspondent has seen

Weekend work: Time to tend to apricots and figs

WHAT TO DO

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