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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Cornwall Spring Flower Show 2018

As great days out go, I rank a visit to the Cornwall Spring Flower Show up there with Chelsea and Sissinghurst. It’s a special day for many reasons. The setting alone, deep in rolling parkland at Boconnoc near Lostwithiel, makes it worth a trip from near or far. The Boconnoc Estate has been at the […]

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Chelsea Flower Show 2017: Chengdu Silk Road Garden

  When I go to the Chelsea Flower Show, I want to see flowers. Whilst in the Great Pavilion this expectation is met in spades, occasionally some of the garden designers forget and start getting a bit too green, or worse, brown. This is fine, but don’t expect me to like it. For all its […]

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Stourhead Revisited

  “We reached Stourhead at 3 o’clock. By that time the sun had penetrated the mist, and was gauzy and humid ….. Never do I remember such a Claude-like, idyllic beauty here. See Stourhead and die.” James Lees-Milne, May 1947   It is incredible to think 20 years have elapsed since I last visited Stourhead. […]

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Rhododendron Rebound

  Although I’ve never been able to grow them well, rhododendrons have always held a special place in my heart. I grew up visiting the gardens of Cornwall in the school holidays –  Trewidden, Glendurgan, Trengwainton, Lanhydrock, Trelissick and Penjerrick – long before the gates of Heligan and Trebah had swung open. As a small […]

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Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – Stars of the Show: Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden

At about 10.30am yesterday morning a small crowd surrounded Monty Don and RHS Director General Sue Biggs as they prepared to announce the prize for ‘Best Large Show Garden’. Their position, next to the island site at the bottom of Main Avenue, left little doubt as to the winner – the Chatsworth Garden designed by […]

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The American Garden, Saltwood, Kent

Primped and polished gardens are all very well (we’ll be seeing a lot of them at Chelsea in a few days’ time) but for those of us who work and can’t afford help they can be a little intimidating. Small imperfections are natural and larger ones excusable. They render a garden approachable and understandable, revealing […]

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Sandling Park Open Garden 2015

The chance to view the extraordinary collection of rhododendrons and azaleas built up by the Hardy family at Sandling Park in Kent is one of the highlights of my May. I adore these acid loving shrubs, especially as I have neither the space nor the soil conditions to cultivate them. At Sandling, sheltered in a shallow valley deep with […]

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Trengwainton Gardens, Cornwall

From a very early age my parents took me and my sister to visit gardens. I like to think the reason was to cultivate our interest in flowers and plants, but as one follower of this blog commented recently (with reference to another Cornish garden, Trebah), it was probably to keep us both from wreaking havoc […]

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Great Balls of Fire – Sandling Park in May

There was such an extraordinary amount going on in May that I am now working through a draft post pile-up. In contrast to the scarcity of blogging fodder during the winter months, early summer offers incredibly bounty. I find myself spoilt for choice and with a backlog of fine subjects to share. Now that June is […]

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