A Ramble Around Rosemoor

Rosemoor, the most south-westerly RHS garden, is my favourite of all the RHS gardens. Opened officially in 1990, the society’s secluded Devon outpost is located in a lush valley outside Great Torrington. Rosemoor is set like a polished gem in a vast woodland clearing. Its verdant grounds are fed by clear springs which have been […]

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Gardening on the Edge: Foamlea, North Devon

The most inspiring gardens are not always those on which huge funds are lavished or indeed the better known ones. Often they are the gardens where the visitor finds something or someone that they can relate to. Such was the case for me with Foamlea, an extraordinary coastal garden in North Devon. In 2002 Beth […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Erigeron glaucus (beach aster)

The recipe for a classic seaside garden is as tried and tested as that for the most British of cakes, a Victoria Sandwich. Take a sheet of tightly mown lawn, add a fringe of hydrangeas (preferably blue) and spike with a handful of cordylines (Cordyline australis). Add phormiums (a modern twist) or agapanthus to taste and then […]

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Daffodil Week: Going Public

Nothing is more cheering on a sunny spring day than a broad swathe of daffodils emerging from lengthening grass, or a delicate cloud of cherry blossom hovering in the air. Driving out of Canterbury towards Harbledown yesterday I was greeted by verges and roundabouts thronged with narcissi. It was as if a magician had pulled a million bunches of flowers from […]

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The Very Best of 2014 – A Year In Pictures

I embark on my review of 2014 with a degree of trepidation, as this year did not turn out to be quite as joyful as I hoped it might be. The two preceding years were gloriously packed with exotic travel and big events, so in hindsight 2014 was probably never going to live up to expectations. There have […]

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Picturesque Perfect: Hotel Endsleigh, Devon

‘A Cottage’ is how Georgina, sixth Duchess of Bedford, described her country home at Endsleigh in Devon. Most visitors today, whether to the garden or elegant hotel, would describe it in somewhat grander tones, but after the formality of Woburn Abbey, the Duchess wished for something far more rustic. Endsleigh was her passion, created in the likeness […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Rosa ‘Pink Perfection’

Hybrid tea roses have fallen out of favour with gardeners since new old-fashioned varieties came on the scene. They tend to mix clumsily with other flowers, preferring to keep the stage to themselves. Nevertheless, hybrid teas like ‘Pink Perfection’, photographed at Castle Drogo, can’t be beaten for flower size, making them superb cut flowers. There […]

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Castle Drogo, Devon

My favourite architect by a country mile is Edwin Lutyens. Often described as a genius, he is most lauded for his Surrey country houses, war memorials and his masterplan for Imperial New Delhi. Castle Drogo in Devon is one of Lutyen’s lesser known and farthest flung masterpieces, and one I could never tire of visiting. […]

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A Not So Red Hot Poker

This cool Kniphofia (red hot poker) is part of George Dillistone’s clever planting scheme at Castle Drogo in Devon. Planted amongst stronger yellow Heleniums and silver-blue Echinops, the towers of vanilla and ivory tubular flowers provide a sophisticated accent.

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Daily Flower Candy: Lilium speciosum ‘Rubrum’

This graceful lily, Lilium speciosum ‘Rubrum’ is one of the last lilies to flower each summer. It blooms profusely, its bold burgundy-red speckled petals curling back on themselves as the buds open. Like other lily species, the flowers’ fragrance is unmistakable and intoxicating. L. speciosum ‘Rubrum’ dislikes our chalky soil, so it’s essential to grow […]

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