Photo Opportunity

I love anything to do with flowers; studying them, gazing at them, talking about them, growing them and photographing them. I don’t believe I could ever tire of their innumerable colours, shapes and forms. I find flowers both endlessly captivating and indescribably beautiful, even the ones most people consider too plain and simple to worry […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Vigorous Vincas

Vinca: periwinkle First, a health warning: periwinkles, especially the kind that appreciate the British climate, can be complete thugs. Just this weekend I spotted a quarter-acre monoculture of Vinca major ‘Alba’ (below) covering a stretch of chalk cliff beneath Charles Dickens’ Bleak House in Broadstairs. The wandering stems formed an undulating green custard, studded with thousands of pure […]

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Hidden Talent

I have always thought of my paternal grandfather as a practical, gentleman gardener. When I was a child he was head gardener on a country estate in Buckinghamshire, playing his part in the steady decline of a once great walled garden and its modest range of glasshouses. It was the end of an era, a […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Eranthis hyemalis

Eranthis hyemalis: winter aconite, winter hellebore, winter wolf’s bane. Jack Frost has arrived in the south of England, wrapping his icy arms around our London garden, petrifying bare earth with his icy breath. His late arrival has sent many optimistic plants that dared to bloom early back into hiding. The puckered, pink flowers of Magnolia […]

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Hide Your Credit Cards: The 2016 Catalogues Have Landed!

In parallel with the mercury in my thermometer, the spring seed, bulb and plant catalogues are starting to drop, drop, drop onto the doormat. A film of thin, clear plastic is all that stands between me and the treasures proffered within. Even in my Night Nurse-saturated state I feel excited by the prospects for my […]

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Birthday Blues

This may not be an especially significant birthday (there are no 0’s or 5’s involved) but I still hadn’t planned to spend it at home in bed with a cold. It looks like I am swapping Bollinger for Benylin, dressing up for a dressing gown and a night on the town for a night in […]

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Book Review – 365 Days of Colour in Your Garden

My initial response to the launch of “365 Days of Colour in Your Garden” at the end of 2015 was to ask myself whether gardeners really need another book on colour. Surely the subject has been amply covered by the likes of Percy Thrower (“Colour in Your Garden”, 1987), Penelope Hobhouse (“Colour in Your Garden”, […]

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Seeing Snowdrops

One of my unwritten New Year’s resolutions is to address my southern bias when it comes to writing this blog. As someone who’s never lived more than three miles north of the M4, with a penchant for tender plants, I have little experience of gardening any closer to the North Pole than Reading. I am, […]

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Bracing

Recently I’ve been highlighting my use of an iPhone to take photographs for The Frustrated Gardener. The relative convenience of a slim, pocket-sized gadget, compared to a cumbersome DSLR, has meant that, increasingly, I have been leaving my Canon at home and turning to the iPhone 6 instead. The results I achieve continually surprise me, […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Euonymus japonicus

Euonymus japonicus: evergreen spindle, Japanese spindle On days like these, when we’d all rather be indoors, wrapped in a blanket with a glass of something red, those of us with seaside gardens are grateful for a small but indispensable cohort of tough shrubs capable of creating shelter quickly and reliably. They include tamarisk (Tamarix tetranda […]

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