Little Miracle

  With the exception of bringing a child into the world, there is nothing in life so rewarding as growing a plant from seed. The emergence of a single vulnerable seedling from a tough, dry husk is nothing short of miraculous, a tiny incident of creation, evolution and the continuation of life on Earth. The […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Cobaea scandens

  The last time I wrote about Cobaea scandens was at Christmas and I make no apology for featuring it again so soon. Barring a few chilly days in February and March, this vigorous climber has not stopped flowering since the New Year. Having scrambled 15ft into the trees on our eastern boundary during year one, it […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Canarina canariensis

Regular readers may already have noticed that I am sucker for a subtropical plant. On a cold Sunday in February, whilst visiting London’s Chelsea Physic Garden, I found myself drawn in by the the scented warmth of one particular glasshouse, that which holds the garden’s collection of rare and threatened species from the Canary Islands and Madeira. Scrambling towards the […]

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The Remains of the Day

There comes a point every year when I begin to lose sight of our London garden. It’s nothing to do with my failing vision (although I do like to sport a natty pair of specs), or exuberant foliage, but everything to do with the shortening day-length. Come October there may be a few precious moments […]

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Lost for words

Rarely do I find myself lost for words but tonight, as I consider my return to work and the inevitability of autumn, I feel a little subdued. This is a far cry from my elation earlier today when Ipomoea indica AGM (blue dawn flower) finally deigned to produce a pair of its short-lived flowers on a day when we […]

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Divine Decay

On the whole I dislike decay. My inner perfectionist denies me the pleasure of anything less than pristine, fresh or new. I wish I could be more accepting of senescence, but perhaps this exposes my own fear of growing old. The moment a vase of flowers passes its best I have to be rid of it, so I surprised […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Vitis coignetiae AGM

This year’s autumn is turning out to be a long, drawn-out affair – less rocket, more damp squib.  But whatever the weather, a handful of plants are guaranteed to put on a firework display.  Vitis coignetiae, the crimson glory vine, is among them, a sure-fire hit when it comes to blazing colour.  You’ll need a […]

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A Walk Around The Peak

Spending time in Hong Kong is no great hardship. But after a week in showrooms so crammed with Christmas sparkle that you can almost feel the glitter in your lungs, it is good to get some fresh air. Hong Kong’s climate is naturally subtropical – warm and humid, but with definite seasons. October temperatures remain […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Pulsatilla vulgaris AGM

It’s been a heavy week, so I am going to end it with something light and fluffy. These are the silken seedheads of the pasque flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, which follow the soft purple spring blooms. Pulsatilla is closely related to clematis, via the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), hence the close resemblance of the seedheads to our […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Clematis alpina

You know spring has sprung when the pale, stringy stems of Clematis alpina burst into leaf. An incredibly hardy climber, Clematis alpina can manage without pruning, will tolerate a north facing wall and leap like a mountain goat across low growing shrubs. The purple, pink or white flowers emerge immediately after the leaves and are […]

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