Daily Flower Candy: Crithmum maritimum

Crithmum maritimum: rock samphire, sea fennel, sea asparagus, sea bean, sea pickle, crest marine “There is a cliff whose high and bending head looks fearfully in the confined deep… The crows and choughs that wing the midway air scarce so gross as beetles; halfway down hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!” William Shakespeare Revelling […]

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Castle Park Physic Garden, Bristol

  As I alighted from the train at Bristol Temple Meads station on Saturday, I worked out that it had been 25 years since I had last set foot in the city. Whilst it’s a fine place, and not without its allurements, I have never really warmed to Bristol. I was born in Bath, so there […]

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Getting to Grips – Part 1

For the last couple of days I have been getting to grips with our two gardens. Like time and tide, nature waits for no man when spring arrives. We’ve not experienced a frost yet in either London or Broadstairs so many plants are racing ahead. Curiously, I still have hundreds of narcissi and tulips left […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Thymus pulegioides ‘Foxley’

Thymus pulegioides: broad-leaved thyme, lemon thyme Variegation in plants is a trait I can take or leave. I blame spireas – a shrub I find especially hideous when variegated – for my aversion, having encountered them one too many times in situations where they’ve looked truly despicable. Yet occasionally, as in hostas, variegation is one […]

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A Year in the Vegetable Garden

We would not describe ourselves as vegetable gardeners, at least not yet, but since we completed a project to build raised beds in our London garden almost a year ago we have been experimenting with growing our own. Setting up a vegetable garden in June or July would not be described as best practice. Nevertheless in […]

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Wildflowers of Cornwall

Clockwise from top left: herb robert (Geranium robertianum); hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium); lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria); Alexanders / wild celery (Smyrnium olusatrum); common gorse (Ulex europaeus); blackthorn / sloe (Prunus spinosa); red campion (Silene dioica); dog violet (Viola riviniana); three-cornered leek (Allium triquetum), primrose (Primula vulgaris); common scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis); bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta); dandelion […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Smyrnium olusatrum

We have much to thank the Romans for – libraries, hot baths, straight roads, aqueducts and stinging nettles among them – but over time we have forgotten the delights of Smyrnium olusatrum, otherwise known as Alexanders. A native of the Mediterranean, Alexanders arrived on our shores with the Romans. The invaders used this versatile plant, with a flavour hovering somewhere […]

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Absolute Beginner

I am a complete novice when it comes to growing fruit and vegetables. My last real experience was in my early teens when I grew an abundance of lettuce, courgettes and sweetcorn in my parents’ garden. Since then herbs have been the extent of my daliance with edible plants. Legumes are unfamiliar, root vegetables foreign and […]

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Making Arrangements

This Wednesday I was extended the great honour of arranging the flowers for Trevoole Farm’s NGS open day.  I’m not sure what qualified me for the job, other than a general willingness to have a go, but the opportunity to play with oodles of flowers and a fabulous collection of vintage vessels was far to […]

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Herterton House, Cambo, Northumberland

To my great shame I have never visited Northumberland before, although I once pretend to for a school project on organic farming. Sorry Mrs Truelove, I told a lie! What a pity that I didn’t discover this sprawling, green and little-populated county back in my teens, although somehow I doubt it would have had the […]

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