Kowloon Park, Hong Kong

I am very fortunate to be able to travel as much as I do, but when I am away from home I miss my gardens and daily contact with my plants. I miss them in the same way I miss my family and friends. I like to imagine they notice my absence too, although frequently I think they quite enjoy […]

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Daily Vegetable Candy: Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum: bingcai, common ice plant, crystalline iceplant, ice greens. When in China, my general policy is to eat every food I am presented with: after all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I am rarely disappointed and often dazzled by the wonderful flavours, colours and textures that are shared with me. The Chinese […]

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Travelling Blues

That’s it. I have readied both gardens for October, packed my bags and left Him Indoors in charge. I am now on the other side of the world. Anything could happen …… and it probably will. Bidding farewell to our seaside garden was particularly tough this year. There were gingers coming into bloom, dahlias still […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Rex’

Gunnera manicata, the giant rhubarb, has very few rivals for the sheer size of its leaves, but among them would be Tetrapanax papyrifer. Used in Asian countries for making paper, it’s more commonly employed in the UK as a dramatic focal point for tropical plantings. Tetrapanax papyrifer dislikes growing in a pot and prefers a […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Cercis siliquastrum

Pictured here outside Winchester City Mill, Cercis siliquastrum, makes an arresting sight. Despite its oriental good looks, C. siliquastrum hails from Southern Europe and Western Asia. Uniquely, the rose-pink, pea-like flowers appear in clusters along older wood in late spring. A long standing myth suggests that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a tree of this […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Tulipa batalinii ‘Bronze Charm’

Diminutive Tulipa batalinii is native to Central Asia, where it grows on stony hillsides. Tulipa batalinii ‘Bronze Charm’ is one of many pretty named varieties, the flowers the colour of a dawn sky, delicately flushed with bronze. It is one of the best small tulips for growing in rock gardens or shallow pans. I was […]

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Bauhinia, the Hong Kong Orchid Tree

This pretty flower belongs to Bauhinia blakeana, the Hong Kong Orchid Tree. It originated in Hong Kong in 1880 and it’s believed that all cultivated trees descend from just one specimen planted in Hong Kong Botanic Gardens. The main feature on Hong Kong’s regional flag, Bauhinia blakeana is commonly known by its Chinese name of […]

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On The Road to Ha Long, Vietnam

I couldn’t resist stopping the car to admire these luscious lettuce on the journey between Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. So green, they still managed to glow brightly under the gloomy sky.

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Landscaping, the Chinese way

For the most part, the Southern China I know is a continuum of ugly buildings and expressways, devoid of any hint of what the original landscape must have been like. This is industrial China where beauty, if it exists, is normally shrouded by smog. On numerous visits here I have rarely seen the sun or […]

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Warm and Wet in Saigon

Sadly, I have had precious little time to enjoy the floral delights of Saigon, although I am hoping to write a future post about the diversity of fragrance producing plants that can be found in this amazing country. Vietnam possesses a huge diversity of plants and flowers owing to its varied geography and soil types. […]

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