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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Daily Flower Candy: Hedychium gardnerianum AGM

    August is turning out to be something of a damp squib. As soon as the kids broke up for the summer holidays the rain moved in and the weather turned decidedly cool. Flowering plants such as dahlias and marguerites responded quickly by producing fewer flowers, hanging back for the next blast of heat […]

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Garden Appreciation: Sweetbriar, Ash, Kent

  When a new garden opens for the National Garden Scheme it's always exciting, but when that garden has been created by two professional gardeners with a passion for rare and exotic plants it's certain to thrill. As soon as Steve Edney and his partner Louise Dowle begin to talk, their infectious enthusiasm spreads to […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Hedychium densiflorum ‘Sorung’

    Ginger lilies are disgustingly straightforward to grow, which is satisfying when one considers their fabulously exotic appearance. Hardy gingers from the genus Hedychium produce lush foliage on robust stems, topped by clusters of fragrant flowers during the summer and autumn months. Ginger lilies are not thwarted by our typically cool, damp summers; these […]

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Fond Farewells

  If it were not for the soft patter of rain on the skylight above my desk, I might hear a pin drop. My house guests have gone home, tired and happy, to their own beds and their own familiar routines. The sound of my niece shouting “No Dan!” and “Silly Uncle Dan!” is still […]

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Chelsea Flower Show 2017: Beneath a Mexican Sky

  Ah, the vagaries of the British weather. Last week: wind and torrential rain, this week: clear skies and temperatures in the twenties centigrade. I’ve veered from wearing boots and a winter coat to shorts and flip-flops in the space of four days. I’ve attended some very chilly Chelsea Flower Shows in the past, but […]

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A Walk in the Park

  They say “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. In order to avoid falling into the same trap as Jack, I endeavour to get out and about whenever time allows during my stay in China. So far this has been hardly at all, thanks to work commitments and two typhoons that […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Megaskepasma erythrochlamys

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys: Brazilian red cloak It must appear to those less familiar with the plant world that botanists sometimes take the mickey when it comes to naming plants. Why else would we end up with trees called Lyonothamnus floribundus subsp. asplenifolius, or Metasequoia glyptostroboides, that no-one can pronounce, let alone remember? On the day that […]

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Le Jardin Secret, Marrakech

  To create a new garden and open it to the public in the space of three years would be a challenge for the most determined of garden designers, but to achieve it in the dry heat of Morocco, in the heart of Marrakech’s labyrinthine souk, is an achievement of a very different order. The […]

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Pretty in Pink: Podranea ricasoliana 

Draped elegantly over the high walls surrounding Marrakech’s wealthier villas and riads is an elegant climber known variously as pink trumpet vine, Queen of Sheba, Port St. John’s creeper and Zimbabwe creeper. As the latter suggests, Podranea ricasoliana, as it’s less attractively known in latin, hails from Southern Africa. I naturally assumed that there would be […]

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