Cornwall Spring Flower Show 2018

As great days out go, I rank a visit to the Cornwall Spring Flower Show up there with Chelsea and Sissinghurst. It’s a special day for many reasons. The setting alone, deep in rolling parkland at Boconnoc near Lostwithiel, makes it worth a trip from near or far. The Boconnoc Estate has been at the […]

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Trewidden, Cornwall: Anything But Magnolia

It’s been a cruel winter for spring flowering shrubs and trees. Today at Trewidden in Cornwall we witnessed the impact of subzero temperatures and six inches of snow on gardens that rarely experience such harshness. Rhodendron buds and tree fern fronds stood blackened and lifeless against a benign blue sky. Yet beneath the burnt and […]

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When The Wind Blows

I am not a cold person, temperature or temperament wise, but when the wind blows from the north, as it did this weekend, I want to be indoors, with a jumper on and a fire blazing. A penetrating wind blew down from the Arctic on Sunday morning, building to a crescendo by evening. Sitting in […]

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Eternal Eden

  I can smell Cornwall before I can see it. Driving across the ancient border between Devon and Cornwall at night it’s pitch black, but I know that if I wind the car window down the mingled scent of damp heather, moss, fern and lichen will be forced up my nostrils faster than I can […]

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Wonder Walls Part II

  Each time I return to the West Country I am reminded just how damp it is compared to Kent. A crude comparison of averages would tell you that twice as much rain falls in Devon or Cornwall versus Kent or East Anglia. On the surface, the impact of rainfall on landscape and nature is […]

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Rhododendron Rebound

  Although I’ve never been able to grow them well, rhododendrons have always held a special place in my heart. I grew up visiting the gardens of Cornwall in the school holidays –  Trewidden, Glendurgan, Trengwainton, Lanhydrock, Trelissick and Penjerrick – long before the gates of Heligan and Trebah had swung open. As a small […]

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Return to Eden

It is May 2000 and I am standing in a long line of chattering, excitable people wearing white hard hats. This is not an audition for a Village People tribute act, but the queue to board a makeshift train that will transport us to the edge of an ugly, sterile china clay quarry. Below us, […]

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Tumbledown

We are staying at Trevoole, one of our favourite places in Cornwall. And because I am on holiday I can take precious time to see what’s in front of me. Outside our bedroom in the farmhouse there’s a romantically ramshackle entrance porch. Over the years the glazing has become increasingly cracked and opaque. Outside plants […]

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Bewitched, Bothered and Bewintered

As winter draws to a close, I can sum it up in one word: soggy. Dreams of bracing walks along the beach beneath clear, blue skies have been denied, replaced by nightmare navigations along muddy paths and through swampy fields.  I promise myself every year that I will visit more gardens during the winter (Anglesey […]

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The Very Best of 2015 – A Year in Pictures

The moment I sit down to write my review of the year my mind goes completely blank. How do I sum up the year that was 2015? What happened of any note? Nothing there. A gardener’s optimistic outlook means I am always looking ahead, not back, which in this instance is unhelpful. Thank goodness I […]

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