Beginning with Brugmansias

I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with myself for posting so infrequently. Okay, so I no longer have a long commute to London and I can’t wait to get out from behind my laptop at the end of each working day, but surely there must be time to draft a post or two? Seemingly not. Then […]

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Farewell to the summer of 2018

  As the sun sets on August, what will be my abiding memories of summer 2018? It goes without saying that the heat and drought that descended on the South East from early May until early August will not be forgotten. Sustained fine weather, with many consecutive days in the high twenties centigrade, provided exceptional […]

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How to Grow Ornamental Gingers in UK Gardens

  Ornamental gingers – we’ve admired them whilst on holiday in tropical countries, or seen them curated in the glasshouses of botanical gardens, but how many of us have considered growing them in our own gardens? Surely gingers need more heat and sunlight than the British climate can offer? Aren’t they going to be hopelessly […]

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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 […]

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Great Dixter Autumn Plant Fair 2017

  My last hurrah before departing for India was a trip aross Kent to the Great Dixter Autumn Plant Fair. I neither had the time nor the need to buy more plants, but I went anyway, prepared to be abstemious: I was feeling brave. I have never visited Great Dixter as late in the year […]

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Fond Farewells

  If it were not for the soft patter of rain on the skylight above my desk, I might hear a pin drop. My house guests have gone home, tired and happy, to their own beds and their own familiar routines. The sound of my niece shouting “No Dan!” and “Silly Uncle Dan!” is still […]

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Drama Queens I: Tulipa ‘Slawa’

  Ladies and gentlemen, for my 800th post, may I present you with the first of two floral drama queens; a bold, brassy diva of a Triumph tulip named ‘Slawa’. Those who speak the language will know that ‘Sława’ means ‘fame’ in Polish, and one can instantly appreciate why the name was chosen. From dusky-red […]

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Plan B

  I have a problem. With the garden next door out of action and no immediate prospect of gaining it back, I have grown way too many plants for the space available. First of all I ignored the foliage coming at me from every direction. That worked reasonably well until I started dismembering things. Then, […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Catalpa bignonioides “Aurea” AGM

  I am deep into writing two or three lengthy posts, each of which is defying me when it comes to crafting a satisfactory ending. Rather than torture myself, experience tells me to write about something else, perhaps a light-hearted subject, before returning to the serious stuff. So, as an interlude, let me present you […]

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Sissinghurst – Fire and Ice

By late summer both of our plots have started to run out of puff, so I am always keen to seek out gardens which manage to keep up a good head of steam into autumn. Sissinghurst is open almost every day of the year and has to cope with hoards of garden-loving pilgrims expecting picture-book perfection. This makes it the […]

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