Delos Reimagined

I imagine I have a lot to deal with at The Watch House, but being the custodian of a large, historic garden is a different matter altogether. Responsibilities range from maintaining the fragile fabric (living and non-living) to deciding the future course of the garden’s development; not to mention fathoming out where all the money […]

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Plant Profile: Ivy-leaved toadflax

Cymbalaria muralis: Ivy-leaved toadflax, ivywort, Kenilworth ivy, coliseum ivy, Oxford ivy, mother of thousands, mother of millions, thousand flower, pennywort, wandering sailor, Aaron’s beard, pedlar’s basket, rabbits, ruine-de-Rome (French), zimbelkraut (German), muurleeuwenbek (Dutch). “Cymbalaria ….. runneth and spreadeth on the ground and clymeth and hangeth on walls even as Ivie or Chickweed doth, the branches […]

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Violet Time

One of the many frustrations of having flu is that everything tastes and smells odd. Apparently viral particles linger longer in the nose and mouth than they do in the blood, altering and inhibiting the recognition of flavours and fragrances long after one’s physical recovery has begun. Whatever causes this phenomenon, it does make one […]

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Winter Heliotrope: Petasites fragrans

What better way to start the New Year at The Frustrated Gardener than with a plant that flowers through the darkest, coldest months. The winter heliotrope, Petasites fragrans, is so called because it produces tiny clusters of flower that are said to smell like cherry pie. I don’t quite make that culinary connection, but it’s […]

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Whatever the Weather

        The elements just keep on giving this year. In the space of three months we’ve had record cold and record heat; now record rainfall, at least in some parts of the country. As for East Kent, we’ve largely swerved the dramatic thunderstorms that have squatted like sumo wrestlers over parts of […]

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The Best Things in Life are Free

        I have largely avoided being drawn into snowdrop mania this year. I have no snowdrops in my garden (which is a pity and ought to be rectified) and have had precious little opportunity to get out and admire others’. Even at the RHS Spring Plant Fair last week I bypassed snowdrops […]

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Hampton Court Flower Show 2017 – The Show Gardens: Brownfield Metamorphosis

  I’m very aware that I am not opening my Hampton Court coverage with classically beautiful gardens. In my quest to offer the fullest overview possible, I rarely get around to detailing my favourites, which was certainly the case last year. So this year, instead of starting with a lengthy perambulation around the showground, which […]

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Chelsea Flower Show 2017: Best in Show – The M&G Garden

  Well slap my thigh and call me Mildred, James Basson won gold and landed this year’s Best in Show for his monumental Maltese quarry garden. Gold was, as I predicted, inevitable, and Best in Show a strong likelihood given the brazen ambition of this project. When James Basson commits to an idea, he sees […]

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My Favourite Walk: Chapel Porth Valley, St Agnes

    I have been walking down and up the valley to Chapel Porth for over forty years. Not continually, of course, but at least once or twice a year and frequently more. Without question this gentle perambulation is my favourite in all the world. It offers dazzling light and dappled shade, cool stillness and […]

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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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