Seeds of The Horse Chestnut or Conker Tree (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Conkers (Horse chestnut seeds)
Horse chestnut seeds are called conkers

While not a native tree, characterful flowers, leaves and seeds have made the horse chestnut tree so wildly grown that it is (or should be) part of every British childhood. Tough, spiky cases with an inner layer of padding protect large, polished chestnut-coloured seeds (conkers) while they form.

One of my memories of Autumn ’22 will be standing under the canopy of the biggest horse chestnut tree in Bold Venture Park to see if any fine conkers were left in the leaf litter underneath, a habit that dies hard. Better than that, I soon discovered, turn and turn about, conkers tippling their balance from unreadiness to ripeness in a decisive instant were slowly, heavily, falling around me. Continue reading “Seeds of The Horse Chestnut or Conker Tree (Aesculus hippocastanum)”

Biodiverse Planting Scheme by Stefano Marinaz for the EuroParcs Garden, Floriade

Eremus and Rudbeckia
Trees, perennials, bulbs and grasses screen The Rebel House

I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed my favourite garden at Floriade as much if I’d seen it in April, soon after Floriade opened to visitors. In pictures of the Europarcs garden taken before the deciduous trees had leafed out, The Rebel House commands the space. A broad, meandering path wraps around the clean, metal-edged outlines of flower beds. Newly-planted perennials are neat, well-spaced and picture perfect, like an architect’s diagram. 

Three months later, the plants have bedded in and are relaxing out. Leaves and flowering stems mingle and mesh together, gently spilling over the path. The ‘Within Nature’ theme of the garden is emerging. Continue reading “Biodiverse Planting Scheme by Stefano Marinaz for the EuroParcs Garden, Floriade”

RHS Harlow Carr: Candelabra Primulas, Blue Poppies And Other Treasures

Candelabra primula Harlow Carr hybrid

Harlow Carr is no longer the Royal Horticulture Society’s only northern garden, and not the biggest, but has the benefit of an extra 70 years or so of continuous cultivation. Highlights for me include wonderful collections of primula and meconopsis, typically in flower around mid June to early July. The collections mingle in naturalistic drifts, their bold colours sparkling like jewels in their stream-side setting. Continue reading “RHS Harlow Carr: Candelabra Primulas, Blue Poppies And Other Treasures”

Cooper-Young Annual Garden Walk, 2022, Memphis, Tennessee

Blue bottle tree with red rose

We recently visited Memphis for one of the most eagerly anticipated gardening events in the American South: two days where 90 or so private gardens in the historic Cooper-Young district of Memphis throw open their gates to band-wearing members of the public.

While a suggested route took in many of the highlights, as first-timers, we decided to explore each quadrant as fully as we could. That’s not a light undertaking – Cooper-Young claims to host the largest garden walk in the Mid-South. If there’s one with a better mix of gardens of all styles and skill levels, or a more welcoming one, I want to see it. Continue reading “Cooper-Young Annual Garden Walk, 2022, Memphis, Tennessee”