Book Review: “Daffodil: Biography of a Flower”

  “I’m always pleased to see a daffodil” confesses Oxford University botanist Dr Robert Scotland to the author of this new account of the ubiquitous spring flower. With those seven words he speaks for a nation. Narcissi, daffadillys, Lent lilies, jonquils, haverdrils, julians, daffydowndillies, call them what you will, daffodils are much beloved flowers. Yet […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Crithmum maritimum

Crithmum maritimum: rock samphire, sea fennel, sea asparagus, sea bean, sea pickle, crest marine “There is a cliff whose high and bending head looks fearfully in the confined deep… The crows and choughs that wing the midway air scarce so gross as beetles; halfway down hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!” William Shakespeare Revelling […]

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Nature Knows

Walking in the Kent countryside this afternoon I am reminded that, beyond the confines of our garden, spring is not quite as far advanced as I might have imagined. In the heady rush of seed planting and potting on, enveloped by the scent of cultivated wallflowers, narcissi and primroses, it’s easy to assume that the […]

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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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Shipwreck Weather

As we drove across the border between Devon and Cornwall on Friday night it was almost as if the wind were determined to blow us back to London. The car rocked and rolled across Bodmin Moor, forging valiantly ahead towards the westernmost tip of the British Isles.      However rough it gets in the […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Clematis vitalba

Clematis vitalba: Old man’s beard, traveller’s joy, virgin’s bower, ladies’ bower, love vine, traveller’s ivy. When the feathery seed heads of Clematis vitalba start to appear in the hedgerows, one knows autumn can’t be far away. Walking along the clifftops yesterday I observed this rampant climber piling over railings and smothering less vigorous neighbours. In folklore, old man’s […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Viper’s Bugloss

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of echiums. I love their jewel-coloured flowers, the way they attract bees to the garden and their incredible range of stature; from sprawling Echium tuberculatum to sky rocketing Echium pininana. Slowly but surely I am increasing my collection in our coastal garden, […]

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In the Pink

It’s early June and the hedgerows of England are at their most ebullient. Nowhere are they more vivacious than in the West County where the crystal clear air permits colours to pop and sparkle. Warmed by the summer sun, refreshed by the last rains of spring, our hedges are flushed with foxgloves, ferns, campions and buttercups, […]

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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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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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