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Showing posts from 2018

A Homage to Beth Chatto

I was at the Beth Chatto Symposium last week, but before I write anything about that because I want to take a little time to assimilate the many interesting things that have been said, I would like to post some writing I had found about my first experience of visiting this garden in September 2014 and have decided to finish off and publish: We couldn't asked for a more perfect day when we went to Beth Chatto's. As autumn colours now slowly pales into winter, it felt like a long time ago on that September day, when it still felt like late summer. Beth Chatto's Gravel Garden It is a garden that I have wanted to visit for a long time, especially because of Beth's close relationship with Christopher Lloyd, two very different gardens, two very different individuals but one very strong and respectful friendship. It has been an influential garden in the UK, ahead of its time in its approach and changing the outlook of how you can garden and what plants you can use. As w

A horticultural road trip - Appalachia to North Carolina

Last year in May I did to an epic trip through the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina. I haven’t properly documented this anywhere yet, so I thought I would take the opportunity to do so. The Blue Ridge Mountains part of the Appalachian Range My main impetus for going there was to see Plant Delights nursery and a horticultural friend of mine Ben Pick - who had recently bought a house and some land near Asheville and wanted to make something of it; possibly a combination of a garden and nursery with some agricultural activities. These were the seeds of reasons for going and then more and more good reasons converged - Will Hembree a former Interchange Fellow the American equivalent of me (who goes to the UK to work in different gardens for 9 months), was down there doing an interesting graduate programme in plant breeding, a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a good time of year for wildflowers - Virginia and North Carolina is the heart of the US Piedmont flora that I ha

Chasing Spring

Bluebell woods at Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve in Shropshire, April 2018. A site managed by Natural England. Even without the constancy of a garden close to me at the moment, I am keenly aware of all the different growths that occur throughout the year. My senses are heightened from currently living on a canal boat, being closer to nature, and I feel this is all the more from having acutely experienced winter this year. On the canal. Finally Spring has arrived. My obsession starts with snowdrops, as soon as I glimpse a stray flowering one in a graveyard or somewhere I suddenly crave to see drifts of them and set about seeking such scenes. I am not a galanthophile at all, my favourite is still Galanthus nivalis - common European one, and then maybe about four or five other curious ones (S. Arnott - fragrant, Hippolyta - a double, the curious crinkly one - Diggory and Trump the perfectly patterned almost ace of spades one). What I am always after is a good coloniser

Chasing Spring in Pennsylvania

The sensation of chasing spring in Pennsylvania in the US is further intensified by the fact that the spring season there is much shorter than in the UK - blink and you might have missed it. Plus seeing the plants of my native country is great but it’s like old comforts, flora of another country on the other hand especially their wild ones was a heady rush of exoticism fuelled by the fact that this might be one of the few chances I get to see them in this way. I was fortunate to have experienced a mild winter in my time there in 2018, but even then it felt like a never ending bleak dark grey and brown broken up only at times by heavy snow and a new appreciation of evergreens and conifers. Cathedral of trees at Mt. Cuba Center. The deciduous woodlands are extraordinary there, dominated by tall tulip trees Liriondendron tulipfera , Acer and beech - Fagus grandiflora , but also a great variety of oaks, white ash and hickory species. Andrew Wyatt - a famous artist of that