Daily Flower Candy: Echium wildpretii

Native to the Canary Islands, echiums are sky-rocketing giants of the plant world. But, like an unfortunate child star, they reach their peak early before burning themselves out. Many of the them are monocarpic, flowering only once before dying. But what flowers! The good news is that echiums set seed freely so that the following […]

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Pole Position

Somehow, and not by design, we have ended up with scaffolding on both houses simultaneously. I know maintenance has to be carried out, but this is not an experience I’m enjoying in the slightest. Scaffolding is the architectural equivalent of Hannibal Lecter’s mask: ugly, sinister and restricting ….. but ultimately necessary. In small gardens like ours building work […]

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Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – The Hidden Beauty of Kranji

In 2005, Singapore announced plans to distinguish itself as a ‘City in a Garden’. The projects that followed, such as The Gardens by the Bay, have attracted global attention, rivalling our very own Eden Project in terms of scale and ambition. The city’s long established botanical gardens have always been one of my favourites, brimming with lush […]

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Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – Stars of the Show: Edo no Niwa by Ishihara Kazuyuki

I changed my plans this year and instead of dashing headlong for Main Avenue when the show opened on Tuesday, I hung a left and made for the Serpentine Walk where Chelsea’s Artisan Gardens can be found. These gardens are built on a smaller budget and are frequently sponsored by councils, tourism authorities and charities. Their themes […]

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Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – Stars of the Show: World Vision and Dark Matter

Big budget show gardens are all well and good, but it was two of Chelsea’s smaller gardens that really impressed me on Tuesday. The ‘Fresh’ category is where the RHS loosens its corset and affords designers a little more freedom, provided they remain on the right side of good horticulture. Designers are permitted to choose the shape and size […]

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Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – Stars of the Show: Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden

At about 10.30am yesterday morning a small crowd surrounded Monty Don and RHS Director General Sue Biggs as they prepared to announce the prize for ‘Best Large Show Garden’. Their position, next to the island site at the bottom of Main Avenue, left little doubt as to the winner – the Chatsworth Garden designed by […]

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Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – The Dream Ticket

Generally speaking I am not the kind of person who wins lotteries or ballots. I don’t even come out of tombolas or raffles particularly favourably. I am the man that walks away with the cider vinegar or the oversized tea cosy fashioned from yarn that looks like it would induce an electric shock. But today […]

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A Walk on Walmer’s Wild Side

We needed to blow away the cobwebs today, so settled on a drive down to one of our favourite spots, the stretch of coastline between Kingsdown and Walmer in Kent. The sun was up, the hood was down and the countryside smelt of damp grass and lilac blossom. It was about as good as a May […]

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The American Garden, Saltwood, Kent

Primped and polished gardens are all very well (we’ll be seeing a lot of them at Chelsea in a few days’ time) but for those of us who work and can’t afford help they can be a little intimidating. Small imperfections are natural and larger ones excusable. They render a garden approachable and understandable, revealing […]

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