Comparing Lancashire Rainforest With Mississippi Backwater

Trees covered by moss in a Lancashire wood

Temperate rainforest near Cadshaw Brook in Lancashire

When my sweetheart described the woods near the Entwistle reservoir as temperate rainforest, I was taken aback. Rainforest sounds like something you’d have to travel thousands of miles to see rather than walk less than four miles up the road.

Our moist, cool, steamy climate encourages mosses and liverworts, lichens, fungi and ferns to creep over trees and boulders. The Irish sea keeps conditions mild enough for these ancient plants to thrive through summer and winter.

Having grown up scrambling through the wooded valleys of the moors, the Tolkienesque character of this type of landscape is as familiar as the open moorland over the hill. Wild orchids grow further along the path that heads from this spot towards an outcrop of rock called Fairy Battery; follow Cadshaw Brook and you may surprise a fallow deer grazing near Entwistle reservoir. Continue reading

Reflections on Glass: Fräbel in the Garden

Glass clowns in different postures by Fräbel

The Cavorting Clown Fountain

Clowns helter skelter after each other in what, we sense, ought to be an ordered line, but just isn’t. Embodied verbs, they pose, plunge, stumble, balance, strut, slip, bow and clamber, one or other body part defying gravity in that frozen moment to anchor the whole. Straight backs lend them dignity even as they take risks and cavort. We’re in the whimsical world of flamework glass artist, Hans Godo Fräbel, as seen at the Naples Botanical Garden, Florida, earlier this year.   Continue reading

Arley Hall’s Double Herbaceous Borders In Their Summer Glory

Arley Hall's double herbaceous borders in full bloom

View of the double borders in summer with The Alcove (left) and the entrance (right)

The grand sweep of the double herbaceous borders at Arley Hall Gardens has been delighting gardeners for about two centuries: this is one of the oldest examples of its type to be seen anywhere in the world. Exuberant summer perennials fill long, parallel borders, the garden’s brick wall and formal topiary hedging providing a traditional backdrop.

When you first walk in through the huge, decorative gates in summer and turn to see the flower borders stretching out before you, behind you, to either side, it’s hard to know where to look first. Continue reading

On John And Yoko’s Double Fantasy Exhibition At The Museum Of Liverpool

Mosaic with the word 'Imagine'

Imagine mosaic at the Double Fantasy exhibition

Whenever anyone is taken from us through violence, something we can never measure is lost with them. John Lennon’s death made us poorer and more vulnerable but Yoko Ono has been determined to keep their message alive in the public mind. Liverpool’s free exhibition, Double Fantasy, on until 3rd November 2019, is part of that.

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Eutierria Mindfulness Garden at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2019

Eutierria garden with textural plants and sweet chestnut decking

The Eutierria Show Garden (pronounced you tee air ia), designed by Neil Sutcliffe and built by Creative Roots, drew inspiration from the cliffs of the River Trent. It was part of the mindfulness category of mood-enhancing spaces at RHS Chatsworth that demonstrate how access to nature and our wellbeing are interlinked. 

Shade tolerant plants supplied by Miles Nurseries channelled the margins of woodland, but with gardenesque touches. White anemone ‘Ruffled Swan’, bronze ajuga, claret astrantia, blue geranium and a froth of tiny, chartreuse yellow alchemilla mollis flowers provided pops of colour against a green, textural planting of fern, moss, hosta, tiarella and brunnera. Trees and shrubs added architecture.  

Eutierria Show Garden with rammed wall, pebble mulch, and green water wall

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Rosa ‘Bathsheba’, An English Climbing Rose

Bathsheba climbing rose has large, apricot flowers

My sweetheart uses the term ‘mannerly climber’ to describe a rose that will climb rather than swamp any structure provided for it by human carers: if the rose produces a succession of elegant, petal-packed rosettes, that’s so much more courteous of it. Rosa ‘Bathsheba’ is a fine example of a mannerly climbing rose.

Pictures rarely tell the full tale of any plant, particularly not a rose. We miss out on the fragrance (strong, flowery myrrh, since you ask) and find it hard to judge the size of the flowers. These are large ones, with a hint of a button eye that becomes Bathsheba very well.

Rosa Bathsheba

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