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Showing posts from August, 2019

Things in Unusual Places #25: Rhino

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I giggled when I looked at this photo when I got home as the autofocus on my camera chose the Stipa over the distant Rhinoceros. Perhaps my camera has got too used to plants being the usual focus of my attention? I also giggled at the time because a rhino and Stipa are an unusual garden combination.

However, in this instance perhaps it's not so unusual as I was invited to a bloggers gathering to celebrate the gardens at Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens. Ever since I've known Harriet was weaving her potted plant magic at the Park, it's been on my list to visit. Animals and plants, who can resist?


Now she and Head Gardener Tim Miles have written their own celebration of the gardens and were keen to share their enthusiasm with us. We weren't disappointed on the day and their book is a delight which forms a lovely souvenir. It's also a sneaky way of inviting us back as there are choice shots of the Park through the seasons.


Here are just a few of my highlights from …

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day: Hesperaloe parviflora

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Sometimes a plant gets under your skin; one to be pursued no matter how hard the chase might be. Hesperaloe parviflora - aka Red Yucca - proved to be such a plant for my garden.

I first came across it in Austin at the Garden Bloggers Fling last year. It's a native plant to Texas and was found pretty much in everyone's garden; also at the gorgeous organic nursery we visited in the rain; and thanks to the legacy of Lady Bird Johnson and the wonderful work of the Wildflower Center which bears her name, it's seen along all the roads and freeways around the city.


Of course it's a key plant for xeriscaping, its tough agave-like rosette leaves - without the skin piercing spikes and with intriguing 'stringy bits' (my technical term) - are ideally adapted for the harsh Texan conditions and whilst I'd mentally named it my plant of the Fling, with a sigh of regret I'd also consigned it to the 'not suitable for my garden' pile of potential plants.

However,…

All Aboard for the Summer Spectacular!

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Visitors to the SS Great Britain in Bristol are in for a treat over the next few weeks as a Summer Spectacular is added to the attractions already on offer. I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview recently and here you can see "Mr Brunel" himself welcoming us.

Soon I was talking to one of the volunteers dressed as a sailor who told me about his role. "Careful young lady," said Mr Bennett - Brunel's office manager - as he passed us by, "that sailor has a woman in every port!" It was an amusing and characterful addition to the evening.
But I digress. Let's have a look at the Summer Spectacular itself...

Before it starts, a bunch of suspicious looking characters wend their way through the audience onto the ship - see the people dressed in white at the centre of the photo? For it is they. There's a great deal of joking, pretending to work and tomfoolery on the deck until it's declared it's time to inspect the rigging.
This is what …

Flowers for Mum: The bouquet that keeps on giving

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You may have spotted I've been a bit quiet lately. That's because my mum passed away a month ago and life's been quite hectic sorting everything out.

So here are my final Flowers for Mum, not grown by me this time, but by Georgie of Common Farm Flowers instead. When I phoned her to discuss what I'd like for the funeral, her first thought was flowers from my garden, but I knew these were unsuitable for what I had in mind because I needed:

Flowers important to mum in some wayScent, because she reacted to that strongly in her final yearsOrganic because dad was a founding member and secretary of Birmingham Organic GardenersCutting material so I could give plants in mum's memory to everyone unable to come to the funeral 
We both got very excited talking through the possibilities and as you can see Georgie did mum (and dad) proud. I love these photos Georgie posted on social media which give you a peep behind the scenes: her flower trolley parked in the shade early in th…