The bubbly bonkbuster author has lived in her picturesque14th Century house in Bisley, Gloucestershire since 1982. The large sprawling garden is idyllically situated with views across the valley and rolling countryside.
Although Jilly is extremely busy with her writing, she clearly enjoys her garden and gardening, getting the bug from her mother who took her on walks and taught her the names of wildflowers. Jilly likes scented flowers such as philadelphus, lilacs and lilies and favours pastel blues and yellows, citing delphiniums and soft blue Love-in- the-Mist as favourite blooms – which is lucky as someone once told her that red was too vulgar for the Cotswolds!
Her 14 acres of grounds consists of a bluebell wood, a big field and a cherry tree orchard, as well as her beloved garden. There’s a terrace with various pots of pink and white geraniums. Beyond this is a large lawn that’s ideal for garden parties. ‘We had our ruby wedding, our golden wedding and my daughter Emily’s wedding here,’ she told the Daily Mail.
Jilly admits to being taken aback by how overgrown the garden was when she and her late husband Leo first moved here. A friend advised her to put in trees, and plant climbers to grow up them. ‘We planted trees everywhere – maples, yews, cherries, conifers – and then grew flowers up them such as clematis, honeysuckle and climbing roses,’ she told the Daily Mail.
Jilly once described her garden as ‘wild and unmanicured,’ with billowy cow parsley everywhere. The tennis court has been rewilded and beyond that is a woodland area in which Jilly has buried many of her beloved animals over the last 30 years or so, with touching inscriptions on their headstones. She has joked that although she should really move into a little flat, she can’t because it would mean leaving her pet cemetery behind!