The great advantage of having Kathryn Bradley-Hole, Country Life’s gardens editor, just outside my office is that I’ve been able to discover the names and habits of the plants that we’ve inherited in our new house. We’ve been blessed with a garden that’s low on maintenance but bright with flowers, especially now that the sun has come out. I’ve just returned from Australia (where it rained for most of the time, too), and while I’ve been away, the garden has come into its own.

In this issue, we look at some of Britain’s idyllic places, but lying on the grass while watching freshly made clouds dance across a sunlit sky to a background orchestra of the church bells, skylarks and a distant lawnmower was a happy reminder of what summer, when it arrives, has to offer. At this time of the year, most of the countryside is idyllic.

Danny Boyle choosing rural Britain as a major feature of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games will really emphasise how the countryside frames so much of what it is to feel British to the rest of the world-but it does feel a lot better under a sunny sky.

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