Category Archives: Exploration

The Loss of the ‘Royal George’

Was Proust the first or merely the best to describe the extraordinary moment when a completely forgotten incident in your life rises fully formed in your memory? In my most recent incident, it was a phone call at work about … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: February 2019

I had always thought that Garrya elliptica, usually at its most spectacular at this time of year, was an Australian plant. I have no idea why … In fact, it comes from a quite restricted strip of coastal western America, … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: January 2019

A lot of choice, during this (so far) mild winter. I wondered about Sycopsis chinensis, of which the yellow filaments are currently glowing @CUBotanicGarden, or one of my own winter-flowering clematis, but – not only because it is glorious in … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: August 2018

This month, I give you Gladiolus murielae, for no better reason (or, in my opinion, the extremely cogent reason) that I have, after several years of trying, actually got it to flower this year! Admittedly, one flower and one bud … Continue reading

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Doomed to Find a Premature Grave

These portentous words appear in the introduction to the 1834 English edition of Letters from India by the French natural historian Victor Jacquemont (1801–32), ‘Travelling Naturalist to the Museum of Natural History, Paris’. If his name is remembered now in … Continue reading

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Fool’s Gold

The other day, I came across the name of Giambattista Angello, described as a Venetian alchemist in London. Always keen to follow the path of the legendary all-purpose cure, theriaca, around Europe, I pursued him, though I was slightly puzzled … Continue reading

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Small But Perfectly Formed

When I was unexpectedly cast upon the shore of the Island of Leisure, nearly three years ago now, one of the resolutions I made to myself in contemplation of the Rest of the Journey of My Life was that I … Continue reading

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