A Ghost Story

Here in Kent it does not feel very much like Halloween. Up the road in Gravesend the warmest ever October 31st was recorded this afternoon, when the mercury peaked at 23.5 degrees centigrade. In our Broadstairs garden it was a shade cooler, but t-shirt and shorts weather nevertheless. A splendid day for gardening, only not quite […]

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Coming Home

There’s nothing like a long spell away from home to remind you of what you take for granted …. and sometimes what you might do differently with your life. I have missed a good strong cup of tea (a cliche, but so true), the cramped comfort of our little country, clean air (even London air is better than […]

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The Topiary Thieves

My regular trips to China offer few opportunities to observe nature up close. By and large I’m confined to big, ugly cities few people in the UK have heard of, but today I am in Hangzhou which must be one of the greenest and smartest cities around. On my last visit I wrote about the […]

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Alive and Kicking (健在で)

Those of you wondering where The Frustrated Gardener has got to need not worry. I am alive and kicking in China, having just been to a magnificent Japanese teppanyaki restaurant with Taiwanese hosts. Consequently I am feeling thoroughly indulged and very international. There has been no let up in the schedule so, alas, no botanising, which grieves […]

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Flower Market Road, Hong Kong

Since the 1970s, Flower Market Road (花墟道) has been the go-to place for plants and flowers in Hong Kong. The term ‘market’ conjures up an image of a large open space packed with stalls, but Hong Kong’s floral focal point is made up of about fifty privately owned shops extending along two parallel streets and […]

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Daily Flower Candy – Cuscuta epithymum

If you’ve ever passed a gorse bush on a cliff top or heath and wondered why it’s covered in something resembling a blanket woven from strawberry bootlaces, then you’ve encountered one of Britain’s most curious plants, Cuscuta epithymum, otherwise known as dodder. Dodder begins its annual lifecycle in spring when it germinates and twines around a host […]

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The Remains of the Day

There comes a point every year when I begin to lose sight of our London garden. It’s nothing to do with my failing vision (although I do like to sport a natty pair of specs), or exuberant foliage, but everything to do with the shortening day-length. Come October there may be a few precious moments […]

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Kinky Leeks and Gracious Grapes – The RHS London Harvest Festival Show 2014

Apart from Cinderella, few people are likely to consider an after-dark encounter with a giant pumpkin an exciting prospect, but the Royal Horticultural Society are out to change all that. In a revision to the normal schedule, the RHS London Harvest Festival Show opened late on Tuesday, treating members and their guests to an evening of […]

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Feeling Fruity

These juicy shots are principally for the delight and delectation of my Aussie friend Helen, who is a great proponent of all sorts of heritage fruit and vegetables. For the first time in many years we have grown tomatoes outside in London, planted in raised beds. They have kept us in petite red and gold fruits since August, with […]

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The Winds of Change

I’ve just come in from the garden, where the temperature has dropped dramatically since lunchtime. A brisk, rain-laden breeze has whipped up, carrying away summer’s last whispers. I fear autumn is finally here. This means one thing – it’s time to prepare the garden for winter and spring. Stoic dahlias are plodding on, albeit with slightly smaller flowers […]

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