Daily Flower Candy: Magnolia doltsopa

Magnolia doltsopa: Michelia doltsopa, sweet michelia There are trees and then there are trees. Queens among their ranks are the magnolias; strong, majestic, ebullient beauties that grace our gardens with buxom, florid flowers each spring. A well-grown magnolia in full bloom is a thing of breathtaking beauty, so ravishing that one can scarcely believe such […]

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Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New

In his famous poem “In Memoriam”, Lord Alfred Tennyson included the verse: Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true. As 2015 dawns who knows what Tennyson’s hoped for ‘truth’ might look like, but […]

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BlueBell Arboretum and Nursery

I have been meaning to get better acquainted with the larger members of the plant world for some time. Being a ‘small’ gardener, my focus always seems to be on bulbs, perennials and compact¬†shrubs which take up relatively little space. There’s nothing wrong in this, but one day I hope to expand my horizons and […]

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Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Over the years I’ve gained mixed impressions of Sheffield. It was neighbouring Rotherham that I encountered first, so one might think the only way was up from there. Arriving at the city’s station for a university interview, the image which etched itself on my memory was of the Le Corbusier inspired Park Hill Estate and […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

They are big, brash, uncompromising flowers, but I love them. Hailing from South America,¬†Hippeastrums are often confused with their South African cousins the Amaryllis. Quite how these stunning bulbs found their way to the remote valley in Bhutan where I took this photograph I don’t know. They seemed very much at home, forming clumps around […]

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Chelsea 2013: My Top Ten Plants

At a show on the scale of Chelsea picking out just ten plants which really get you excited is a tough job. Every year there are clear plants of the moment, which this time happened to be Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’, Enkianthus (a bit of a surprise), peonies (especially blousy white varieties) and Aquilegia in every […]

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A Spring Spectrum – Sandling Park, Kent

There are those that frown upon the lusty delights of rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas. I am not one of them. I expect these naysayers are the same folk who dislike orchids, with their similar flambuoyance and tendencies towards artifice. Yes, rhododendrons are big, bold and brazen, but they offer up colour aplenty in saturated hues […]

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Paradise Found – Bumthang to Punakha

First off, meet these cheeky grey langurs we met steeling bags of salt near the pass at Pele La. They’re not rare, but they were very amusing to watch and better equipped for the chilly climate than we were. And, at the very top of the post, the fortress-like Dzong at Trongsa, historically a powerful […]

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Prunus serrula var. tibetica

As shaggy and appealing as an Irish Setter, this is the trunk of a magnificent, mature Tibetan cherry, Prunus serrula var. tibetica, which we spotted near Nobding, Bhutan. Introduced to Europe by Ernest Wilson in 1908, it makes a dramatic standard or multi-stemmed garden tree. If properly groomed the mahogany-coloured bark is richer and shinier, […]

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Flowers of Bhutan – Arisaema nepenthoides

Bhutan’s forests may bear a passing similarity to the great gardens of Cornwall, but you know you’re somewhere exotic when the forest floor is covered with these stunning cobra lilies, Arisaema nepenthoides. This particular arisaema gets its name because it resembles a pitcher plant (latin name Nepenthes). As well as looking pretty dramatic, Arisaema’s have […]

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