Stopping to smell the stink

Flower scent is an evocative modality in gardens, often just as important as colour and texture. The smell of roses gave rise to a popular saying that reminds us to look closer and appreciate the beauty around us every minute of every day. There are so many plants loved for their scent that it’s impossible to list them all in a blog. Violets are perhaps one of my all-time favourites, followed closely by asiatic lilies. I don’t care much for roses but their scent can waft far from where their roots are in the ground. Continue reading

The Hawaiian lei that wasn’t

Every morning at around 9.30am at our beautiful Waikiki hotel, a large white box would arrive and be secreted beside the valet and entry area. I loved this box, as I knew inside were hundreds of fresh dendrobium orchid leis which would be placed around the necks of weary but smiling guests of the hotel. Continue reading

Take the ancient Silk Road to a 2,500-year old garden

Nowhere but Iran can you walk among the ruins of a garden created more than 2,500 years ago. Nowhere else on earth can you find an entire suite of nine UNESCO World Heritage Persian Gardens. And nowhere else has one guiding principle of garden design not only persisted for more than two millennia, but also inspired and influenced the creation of the Mughal and other great gardens of the world. Continue reading

Amazon moves into plant retailing

Online retailing giant Amazon is now selling live plants throughout the USA. Will that be A Good Thing for the world-wide beleaguered horticulture industry? And what does it mean for the types of plants that will be grown in the future, their growers, and the retail nursery industry? Continue reading

Berber home and garden, Morocco

East of Marrakech, over Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, a desert landscape riddled with spectacular gorges and valleys presides. At the time of my visit in November, snow-capped peaks rendered this ancient land of Berbers even more panoramic. In their pink and red-hued villages, built so clearly from the earth right there, dwell a truly hospitable people. I had the good fortune to visit the home and garden of one Berber family. Continue reading

Giving two rooms their view

It rains a lot in the west of Scotland. It’s often too soggy to be out in the garden, so it’s important to have something attractive to look at from inside the house. We spend most of our indoor time in our kitchen and adjoining living room/dining room, which are both west-facing. Continue reading

This land is MY land, all mine!

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about what it means, as a gardener, to actually own my own piece of property. Sometimes when I am taking my vegetable scraps out to the compost heap, following a route that spans the full expanse of my backyard, I marvel at the fact that the entire vast swath is mine to do with as I wish. Continue reading

We need to talk about concrete

Did you know that the environmental impacts of concrete are out of control and that the worldwide consumption of concrete is on its way to being four times greater in 2050 than it was in 1990? Did you also know that concrete is the most widely used material on earth? Continue reading