Sunshine and Showers at Saltwood

I have met some Americans who believe all us Brits live in quaint thatched cottages and are intimately acquainted with The Queen. We might also happen to know a distant relative they might have in Kettering, Peterborough or Cumbernauld. It’s a small country after all. As a proud Englishman I am more than happy to […]

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Chelsea Physic Garden – Nick Bailey’s ‘Best in Snow’

Early in February I went along to the Chelsea Physic Garden for one of their annual snowdrop days. I was lucky enough to bag a ticket for head gardener Nick Bailey’s ‘Best in Snow’ walk, where he described very eloquently a dozen or so of his favourite plants for winter colour. Not many of them can […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Iris reticulata ‘Spot On’

As I predicted exactly two weeks ago, the latest bulb to start flowering in our coastal garden is Iris reticulata  ‘Spot On’, a new hybrid developed by Canadian breeder Alan McMurtie. It’s a tiny little thing by reticulata standards, a cross between Iris reticulata ‘Purple Gem’ and Iris reticulata var. bakeriana from Turkey. Each bulb carries pretty flowers […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Crocus chrysanthus ‘Herald’

I wished for snow, and it came, although not the right kind of snow. It began promisingly, fine and dusty, but rapidly transformed itself into fat, soggy clumps and then plonky rain. Nothing settled. Hey ho. Now that the garden is no longer full of defunct kitchen appliances and builders’ debris I am able to scour […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Iris reticulata ‘Katherine Hodgkin’

Not many plants break the rules when it comes to flower colour.  Fewer still manage to do it successfully:’ blue’ roses for example.  Just occasionally one stumbles upon a flower which does things differently and succeeds; let me introduce you to Iris reticulata ‘Katherine Hodgkin’.  To begin with, the background of her petals are an […]

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The Pines Garden, St Margaret’s at Cliffe

At long last the weekend offered some semi-decent weather, so off we set down the East Kent coast to the well-to-do village of St Margaret’s at Cliffe, near Dover. St Margaret’s has always charmed, with its white cliffs, wooded valley and sheltered shingle beach. Beneath the gleeming cliffs there are two Art Deco cottages once […]

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Introducing Bhutan

‘I’m going on holiday’.  ‘Oh, anywhere nice?’ comes the response.  ‘Bhutan’ I reply.  The majority of my friends and colleagues have a pretty good idea where Bhutan is, with some vague recollection of a flag with a dragon on it, something to do with the people being happy and there being lots of mountains and […]

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