John T. White

Country Diary

Today John T. White's Country Diary was shared in The Guardian (

“The calendar said July 1 but the weather over Dungeness was more suited to January.
Low clouds swept over the lighthouse and the foghorn sent out its melancholy warning, three times every half minute, into the misty Channel.
I was glad of jersey and anorak and turned my back to the driving rain as I explored the shingle wilderness.
I was accompanied by the sea swallows, the terns flying so low that they zig-zagged between the willow scrub like yachts tacking so close that I could see crabs and small fish in their beaks.
I decided to follow their route and stumbled over a succession of shingle ridges that mark the steady seaward extension of the headland.
The flora, at least, was summery in its brilliance. Vipers Bugloss, dark blue, red-tipped, standing stiffly in the bare shingle. Valerian towering above carpets of Yellow Stonecrop and the white flowers of Sea-Beet rising from clumps of thick, fleshy leaves.
Most remarkable in that wild garden was the Nottingham Catchfly, a rare plant, highly localized in its occurrence; its white ragged petals drooping with water.
Anglers lined the shore, standing four-square behind their fixed rods and, above them, almost hovering as they turned into the strong breeze, were the terns, heads dipped, to survey the rough waves, plummeting down to take their share of the fish.”

This post was featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

helping gardeners find their roots,
one story at a time
John T. White
John T. White

Leave a Comment