Category Archives: Exploration

Plant of the Month: June 2017

There is no doubt that, for a very long period, the pineapple was THE evidence, across Europe, of your wealth, your taste, and your ability to choose a head gardener for your estates who could manage a stove-house. This exotic … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: May 2017

When an unfortunate juxtaposition of my slippery sandal and the glass-like surface of a marble step in Venice had fairly uncomfortable consequences a couple of weeks ago, my second conscious thought (the first having been ‘I hope this wasn’t caught … Continue reading

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Thunbergiana

I was picking stems of my Deutzia to bring indoors (an activity which presents a rather more domesticated and delightful image of the châtelaine of Château Hedgehog than the reality), when it occurred to me that although I have been … Continue reading

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Lucca

I never quite understood what was so great about St Martin slicing his cloak in two and giving half to a beggar: why didn’t he just hand over the whole cloak and be done with it? He was a soldier … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: March 2017

I have to confess that I had hoped that the Persian ironwood tree, Parrotia persica, had obtained its botanical name (first applied by C.A. von Meyer in 1831) because it was observed to be a favourite perch for parrots, but … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: January 2017

My mahonia is looking pretty cheerful at the moment: as good a reason as any to find out a bit more about it – including, I hope, the reason for its flowering in the coldest months of the year, when … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: November

I was parking my car outside a friend’s house in leafy western Cambridge when something squidged from above on to the bonnet and disintegrated most messily. I opened the car door and was assailed by a most appalling smell of … Continue reading

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