Silence Fills The Void

It’s awfully peaceful outside. You must have noticed? Since Monday there’ve been no bellowing workmen, no reversing delivery lorries, no aeroplanes, no taxis using our lane as a rat run, no catterwauling teenagers on a night out, no gabbling foreign language students, no empty cages being hauled out the back of shops, no trains pulling […]

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Eternal Eden

  I can smell Cornwall before I can see it. Driving across the ancient border between Devon and Cornwall at night it’s pitch black, but I know that if I wind the car window down the mingled scent of damp heather, moss, fern and lichen will be forced up my nostrils faster than I can […]

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Wonder Walls Part II

  Each time I return to the West Country I am reminded just how damp it is compared to Kent. A crude comparison of averages would tell you that twice as much rain falls in Devon or Cornwall versus Kent or East Anglia. On the surface, the impact of rainfall on landscape and nature is […]

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Nature Knows

Walking in the Kent countryside this afternoon I am reminded that, beyond the confines of our garden, spring is not quite as far advanced as I might have imagined. In the heady rush of seed planting and potting on, enveloped by the scent of cultivated wallflowers, narcissi and primroses, it’s easy to assume that the […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Balanophora harlandii

My knowledge of parasitic plants is limited to say the least. It extends no further than dodder (Cuscuta epithymum) and toothwort (Lathraea clandestina). But now, following my walk around Hong Kong’s Peak, I can add a third, Balanophora harlandii.  Parasitic plants seem to share little in common apart from having been knocked out in the […]

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Plants and Peace on The Peak

One of the many wonderful things about writing this blog is that I am slowly building up an invaulable record of what I did and when. Before I set off this morning for Hong Kong’s highest point, I looked back at my post ‘A Walk Around The Peak’ published in October 2013. I recalled then […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Clematis vitalba

Clematis vitalba: Old man’s beard, traveller’s joy, virgin’s bower, ladies’ bower, love vine, traveller’s ivy. When the feathery seed heads of Clematis vitalba start to appear in the hedgerows, one knows autumn can’t be far away. Walking along the clifftops yesterday I observed this rampant climber piling over railings and smothering less vigorous neighbours. In folklore, old man’s […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Viper’s Bugloss

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of echiums. I love their jewel-coloured flowers, the way they attract bees to the garden and their incredible range of stature; from sprawling Echium tuberculatum to sky rocketing Echium pininana. Slowly but surely I am increasing my collection in our coastal garden, […]

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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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Hangers-On

It’s midweek and already my brain has turned to blancmange.  So for everyone’s sake, I’ll keep today’s post simple. Living by the seaside, we need not stray very far to marvel at nature’s resourcefulness.  Occupying a variety of precarious positions, chalk-loving wild flowers punctuate the white cliffs around Broadstairs from spring until late autumn.  Pictured […]

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