The Magical Landscapes of Disneyland Paris

  There is something especially delightful about going on a holiday that one hasn’t organised. Perhaps it’s the element of surprise, or the ability to shirk responsibility for anything that goes awry. Either way one can sit back and – quite literally in the case of my recent holiday – enjoy the ride. I am […]

Read More

Daily Flower Candy: Epimedium zhushanense ‘Zhushan Fairy Wings’

  I’ve reached that point in the year when the number of posts I have time to write is overtaken by the number of subjects there is to write about. It happens every spring and causes me a rising sense of panic and frustration. There’s only one thing to do: take a deep breath and […]

Read More

Waste not, want not

  I don’t have many dislikes. Of those I do, chief among them is waste. Rather ambitiously, one might say naively, I spent £300 on spring-flowering bulbs in September. A lucky few were planted in early October or early November between business trips, whilst the rest were stored safely; cool and dry under dust sheets […]

Read More

Daily Flower Candy: Vigorous Vincas

Vinca: periwinkle First, a health warning: periwinkles, especially the kind that appreciate the British climate, can be complete thugs. Just this weekend I spotted a quarter-acre monoculture of Vinca major ‘Alba’ (below) covering a stretch of chalk cliff beneath Charles Dickens’ Bleak House in Broadstairs. The wandering stems formed an undulating green custard, studded with thousands of pure […]

Read More

Daily Flower Candy: Euonymus japonicus

Euonymus japonicus: evergreen spindle, Japanese spindle On days like these, when we’d all rather be indoors, wrapped in a blanket with a glass of something red, those of us with seaside gardens are grateful for a small but indispensable cohort of tough shrubs capable of creating shelter quickly and reliably. They include tamarisk (Tamarix tetranda […]

Read More

Bravery

I had ideas about going to the Great Dixter Spring Plant Fair this weekend, but it dawned on me that I should spend more time worrying about the plants I already have rather than acquiring new ones. This was something of an revelation for a confirmed plantaholic like myself, and one which I hope doesn’t occur too […]

Read More

Daily Flower Candies: Helleborus foetidus & Iris foetidissima

One might consider it wise to steer well clear of any plant with a latin name ending foetidus or foetidissima. After all the epithet means bad-smelling, or having a fetid odour; something most of us could live without in our gardens. Anyone with dry shade should think again, as this would exclude two terrific plants which […]

Read More

Daily Flower Candy: Sarcococca ruscifolia

Venturing out of the terrace doors this morning I am hit, full frontal, by the scent of Christmas Box, Sarcococca ruscifolia. The fragrance coming from the feathery white flowers is sweet, honeyed, almost sickly. Just one tiny sprig in the kitchen is filling the house with its delicious scent as I write this post. Unassuming […]

Read More

Exceptional Evergreens for Coastal Gardens

It’s in the depths of winter, when the wind roars in from the east, that I’m reminded of the value of good evergreen trees and shrubs. They provide shelter from the gales (and for the birds) as well as providing precious structure and attractive glossy foliage throughout the year. Yet many gardeners don’t venture far […]

Read More

Strange Fruit

After 3 weeks of part self, part snow-induced exile, I returned to the seaside last night during an icy gale that would’ve had an Inuit running for his furs.  I expected to be welcomed by a few mushy looking plants, but immediately I stepped through the gate there was a disgusting squelch, followed quickly by another.  In […]

Read More