Duty

I have been particularly dutiful this week, even if I do say myself. I began the week in Cornwall, entertaining my beautiful, happy, intelligent niece. As duties go, this was an absolute joy. Martha has taken to walking like a duck takes to water, and is now in proud possession of her first pair of […]

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Bewitched

No winter garden is complete without at least one witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.). These superb shrubs flower reliably during the harshest, bleakest of winters, scenting the air with their uniquely spicy fragrance. I featured this lovely yellow cultivar in a recent post, and remarked how the feathery, crinkled flowers reminded me of lemon zest. They smell equally […]

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Hellebore Heaven

The weather forecast for Saturday was not promising – heavy rain and hail showers – but, as is often the case in Cornwall, the elements refused to conform. Instead we enjoyed sunshine, punctuated by the occasional, monumental downpour. We arrived at Bosvigo Hellebore Day slightly later than planned (there’s no hope of keeping to schedule with […]

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Gold Rush

There is one colour that’s inextricably linked with early spring, and that’s yellow. Whether it’s canary, lemon, sunflower, primrose or golden, yellow is the colour that heralds the start of the gardening year. Yellow flowers spread their sunshine at a time when very little is forthcoming from above. But when the sun’s rays do target their glossy […]

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RHS Seed Scheme

How often do we subscribe to organisations or take out memberships and yet fail to take full advantage of them? I have been signed up to the Royal Horticultural Society for almost 20 years, and the National Trust for longer (having joined at birth, obviously), but take advantage of little that they offer, very rarely. For […]

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Trickery

There’s a day or two every February when the sun shines, the air feels warm, the wind drops, and one could be fooled into thinking spring has arrived. Today was one of those days. I will not be duped, as all too often these balmy interludes are followed by bitter, cruel cold. The buzzing bees and […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Iris reticulata ‘Spot On’

As I predicted exactly two weeks ago, the latest bulb to start flowering in our coastal garden is Iris reticulata  ‘Spot On’, a new hybrid developed by Canadian breeder Alan McMurtie. It’s a tiny little thing by reticulata standards, a cross between Iris reticulata ‘Purple Gem’ and Iris reticulata var. bakeriana from Turkey. Each bulb carries pretty flowers […]

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Snowdrop Week: Be a Galanthus Geek

5 Things You May Not Know About Snowdrops:   US military police stationed in the UK during WWII were known as snowdrops because they wore white caps with their green uniforms. They were also turned out with white webbing belts, white gloves and white gaiters, brightening their otherwise drab attire. Snowdrop bulbs contain an alkaloid called Galantamine, prescribed for people who suffer dementia. Whilst not […]

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Snowdrop Week: Solitary Seagull

I have a love-hate relationship with seagulls. Living by the seaside, as I do, I would not be without the herring gulls’ screeching call to remind me where I am. But they are aggressive, thuggish birds that do not think twice about attacking old ladies and children with chips and ice creams, so I prefer to keep them at arms’ length. Despite […]

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Snowdrop Week: Digging Diggory

Those folk who’d sell their souls for a rare snowdrop have two things in common – a willingness to open their wallet for a small, vulnerable bulb that flowers only briefly once a year, and an eye for detail. I mock not, for man has succumbed to uglier addictions, but one can understand why the uninitiated […]

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