Saying it with Flowers

  Two subjects I prefer not to write about in this blog are my day job and artificial flowers. Today I make an exception, perhaps because it’s my final day working in China, or perhaps because I have been separated from real flowers for far too long. At this point in my travels I do […]

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Moving Mountains

  You may ask what is interesting about the photograph at the top of this post. It is, after all, a view out of a Chinese factory window. The buildings are of a typically functional, brutal style found all over industrial China, and there’s a small hillock covered in trees in the distance. It is […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Iris confusa

Iris confusa: bamboo iris, 扁竹蘭 As the fig, olive and bay have matured, our seaside garden has become partly shaded. Where once plants basked in full sun, there are now spots that remain in cool shadow for most of the day. Having fought against the prevailing conditions for a few seasons, I have seen sense […]

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Beautiful Dreamer

I took this photograph today in Kowloon Park, Hong Kong. A girl sat artfully at the edge of the water, shaded by a graceful Chinese pavilion. She gazed nonchalantly, sometimes at her magazine, sometimes at the carp gliding beneath her. The picture was serenity itself. A modern-day willow pattern scene.

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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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Spring Flower Candy: Pleione formosana

I will be devoting a post to a different spring flower each day this week, and they don’t come much more special than Pleione formosana. I had always presumed these to be tricky customers, reserved for the kind of gardeners that keep pristine alpine houses, but after picking up three plants for a song at a car boot […]

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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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Coming Home

There’s nothing like a long spell away from home to remind you of what you take for granted …. and sometimes what you might do differently with your life. I have missed a good strong cup of tea (a cliche, but so true), the cramped comfort of our little country, clean air (even London air is better than […]

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The Topiary Thieves

My regular trips to China offer few opportunities to observe nature up close. By and large I’m confined to big, ugly cities few people in the UK have heard of, but today I am in Hangzhou which must be one of the greenest and smartest cities around. On my last visit I wrote about the […]

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Alive and Kicking (健在で)

Those of you wondering where The Frustrated Gardener has got to need not worry. I am alive and kicking in China, having just been to a magnificent Japanese teppanyaki restaurant with Taiwanese hosts. Consequently I am feeling thoroughly indulged and very international. There has been no let up in the schedule so, alas, no botanising, which grieves […]

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