Morrab Gardens, Penzance, Cornwall

March can be a wild and windy month, especially in the far south-west of Cornwall. So it was that we turned up at Trewidden to view the magnolias only to find the garden was closed owing to the inclement weather. All Cornish gardens of note rely heavily on shelter created by large trees and shrubs. […]

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Action Stations!

One can be excused for inactivity during January – after all, Christmas is exhausting – but with the arrival of February the garden begins to demand one’s attention again. First of all there are the early signs of spring. Snowdrops are starting to bloom, tiny blue anemones poke tightly curled buds and bronzed leaves through […]

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Camellias: Harbingers of Spring

Spring arrives a little earlier in Cornwall than elsewhere in England. The far South West is blessed with a mild, maritime climate which ensures the county rarely experiences extremes in temperature, although they are not unheard of. In the summer Cornwall never feels quite as warm as elsewhere and in the winter frosts seldom bother […]

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Cornwall Spring Flower Show 2018

As great days out go, I rank a visit to the Cornwall Spring Flower Show up there with Chelsea and Sissinghurst. It’s a special day for many reasons. The setting alone, deep in rolling parkland at Boconnoc near Lostwithiel, makes it worth a trip from near or far. The Boconnoc Estate has been at the […]

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Scented flowers for the midwinter garden

  During the winter months, every flower in the garden is cherished like a precious gemstone. Once spring arrives, we’ll enjoy an elegant sufficiency of tissue-fine blooms, followed by an embarrassment of floral riches in the summer. Autumn offers an equal abundance of bright colour, before being swallowed up by the dull browns and frosted […]

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Birthday Blooms

When one’s birthday falls in early January, one learns not to expect too much in the way of tropical heat or blazing sunshine. However one can guarantee there will be weather, and plenty of it. Today’s conditions I would describe as typically ‘Cornish’: overcast and blustery with invigorating horizontal rain. Dandy for seagulls and herring, […]

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Blooming Boxing Day

Even by London standards it’s been an exceptionally mild start to winter. Our traditional Boxing Day walk from Highgate to Hampstead revealed dahlias in full spate, rioting red geraniums and walls festooned with Jasminum polyanthum, all blooming cheek-by-jowl with seasonal clumps of Lenten rose (Helleborus niger) and the bejewelled stems of Viburnum x bodnantense. The biggest surprise of the day […]

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Sandling Park Open Day 2014

Spring 2013 arrived fashionably late. This was convenient for us, as we’d been travelling in Bhutan during the prime time for camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas at home. One of the highlights on our return was a visit to Sandling Park, Kent, which opens just once a year in aid of Pilgrim’s Hospices.   Sandling’s gardens […]

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Sea Air and Shopping

Over the last two days I’ve experienced complete sensory overload. Yesterday’s highlight was the RHS London Plant and Design Show, where I was dazzled by oceans of irises and fountains of rare and beautiful snowdrops. Considering the winter we’ve had, the likes of Jacques Amand (above) and Avon Bulbs still managed to create extraordinary displays, […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Camellia ‘Cornish Spring’

So often winter flowering shrubs are big on fragrance but lacking in flower power. The likes of Lonicera x purpusii, Viburnum x bodnantense and Sarcococca confusa are all very well at close quarters, but their small, pale flowers would render them unremarkable if it were not for their potent scent. Camellias largely eschew fragrance in […]

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