Category Archives: Gardens

The Unusual Grand Tour of Sir J.E. Smith

Although, in my previous existence, I had been involved in reissuing the hagiographic two-volume ‘life and letters’ of Sir J.E. Smith (1759–1828), founding president of the Linnean Society, written by his delightfully named widow, Pleasance, I did not actually read … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: July 2017

Regrets, I’ve had a few … but none so profound as for the fatal day on which I gratefully accepted a kind neighbour’s gift of a single plant of Meconopsis cambrica. Up to my oxters (whatever they are) in the … Continue reading

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A Curious Herbal

In Modena recently, we were having a nice mooch round the Biblioteca Estense in the Palazzo dei Musei, which also houses the Galleria Estense, the Lapidario Romano, the Musei Civici di Modena, and several other collections. (A tasting session for … Continue reading

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Hortus Academicus

The botanic garden in Leiden is always associated with its hugely distinguished first director, Carolus Clusius, and sure enough, his bust is the first thing you see at the entrance. I wasn’t aware, however, until our recent visit, that other … Continue reading

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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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Bark

It may seem a little weird, when summer seems at last to be arriving, to be considering bark. On the other hand, in my wanderings on the Italian peninsula recently, I found myself photographing as much bark as I did … 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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