Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – Stars of the Show: Edo no Niwa by Ishihara Kazuyuki

I changed my plans this year and instead of dashing headlong for Main Avenue when the show opened on Tuesday, I hung a left and made for the Serpentine Walk where Chelsea’s Artisan Gardens can be found. These gardens are built on a smaller budget and are frequently sponsored by councils, tourism authorities and charities. Their themes […]

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Snowdrop Week: Japanese Kokedama

If they didn’t literally smack you full in the face, the sheer ingenuity of the hanging snowdrop decorations at the Chelsea Physic Garden last week would have stopped you in your tracks. One of the garden’s team was inspired to create them for the special snowdrop days following a recent visit to Japan. Here, trees, shrubs […]

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Birthday Blooms

When one’s birthday falls in early January, one learns not to expect too much in the way of tropical heat or blazing sunshine. However one can guarantee there will be weather, and plenty of it. Today’s conditions I would describe as typically ‘Cornish’: overcast and blustery with invigorating horizontal rain. Dandy for seagulls and herring, […]

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Alive and Kicking (健在で)

Those of you wondering where The Frustrated Gardener has got to need not worry. I am alive and kicking in China, having just been to a magnificent Japanese teppanyaki restaurant with Taiwanese hosts. Consequently I am feeling thoroughly indulged and very international. There has been no let up in the schedule so, alas, no botanising, which grieves […]

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BlueBell Arboretum and Nursery

I have been meaning to get better acquainted with the larger members of the plant world for some time. Being a ‘small’ gardener, my focus always seems to be on bulbs, perennials and compact shrubs which take up relatively little space. There’s nothing wrong in this, but one day I hope to expand my horizons and […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Hepatica transsilvanica

Just like snowdrops, hepaticas have recently developed something of a cult following in the UK. A fascination with these diminutive members of the buttercup family is nothing new; the Japanese have been coveting them since the early 18th century. Intense hybridisation since then means there are now over 650 named varieties displaying all manner of […]

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Miraculous Mosses

Along with ducks, umbrella salesmen and water companies, mosses are among the few things enjoying this frightful spell of wet weather. The rain brings them out in all their spongy, hummocky, emerald-green glory. Above, I photographed a cluster clinging to the banks of a canal in Bruges, sparkling against the chill water. Mosses are wonderful […]

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Seeing White

Perhaps it is just me, but it seems that every gardening publication I open this month is packed with features on snowdrops (Galanthus spp.) and lists of where to view them. Country Life magazine reports that there are more woods and gardens open for snowdrop events this year than ever before, some even offering night viewings. When, […]

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Chelsea 2013: My Top Ten Plants

At a show on the scale of Chelsea picking out just ten plants which really get you excited is a tough job. Every year there are clear plants of the moment, which this time happened to be Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’, Enkianthus (a bit of a surprise), peonies (especially blousy white varieties) and Aquilegia in every […]

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Flowering Now: Stachyurus praecox

The flowers of Stachyurus praecox are like rows of seed pearls dangling from a expensive earring. A deciduous shrub, Stachyurus hails from the mountains of the Eastern Himalaya and Japan, but is perfectly at home in the UK. I first came across this shapely shrub in the gardens of Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, standing out amongst […]

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