Due to the fact that my Mean Machine is still at the menders, I have had to walk to work for the last couple of days.  Luckily these jobs have been relatively local and the sun was shining or I might not have been quite so nonchalent.

This morning, on my trek to work, I dipped down to photograph this Kniphofia rooperi in the park.  Not a bad start to the day.



Ginger lilies, hummingbird hawk moth, Canna ‘Panache’, four lovely cats, chocolate biscuits, ginger rosemary cuttings, Helianthus salicifolius, brugmansia, horti-chat, sunshine, Colocasia ‘Black Magic’, road trip, Passiflora exoniensis, fine folk, school day, Ensete montbeliardii, plant aquisitions, dragonfly, Bidens ‘Hannay’s Lemon Drop’ and friends, fabulous visit  – Devon Subtropical Garden.


We have just returned from the Edinburgh Fringe.   We survived.   Not the festival, I had every faith we would return tired but relatively unscathed.  It was everything I thought it would be and more – crazy crowded, cosmopolitan, chaotic and great fun.  We had a wonderful few days with some of my family and did everything on the virtual list we had in our heads.  And we survived.

I am talking about the flights.   I would like to say that the reason that we have only flown twice in the last 15 years is for ecological reasons, but it would be untrue, although that is an added bonus.  It is because I have a mortal fear of flying.  More accurately, not flying.

For me, the prelude and actual event goes something like this:

a)  Sleepless nights for a week before, along with daymare re-enactments,

b) Go to the toilet at least 6 times an hour at the airport,

c)  Sit rigid with eyes closed during take-off, silently weeping,

d)  Relax slightly (only slightly) until we begin to descend,

e)  Sit rigid with eyes closed, make a little yelp as we touch the ground, brake furiously.

f)  Become euphoric that I have survived.

Repeat on return trip.

I know the statistics, I know it isn’t logical, but that is the way it is.

On the homeward journey we arrived safe and sound at Exeter airport, and naturally I was euphoric.  We drove home.  The car was acting a little peculiar for the last 5 or 6 miles and we resolved to take it to the garage soon.  Then we stopped off at the local supermarket, approximately half a mile from our house, to get some essentials (bread and beer).  Fully stocked up, and pleased to eventually nearing home,  I drove off to exit the car park.   Reaching a corner I put my foot on the brake, which rather bizarrely kept going, as did the car.  Luckily we were still in the car park, so glided to a halt and waited for the nice man from Green Flag to tell us that the brake on the left hand side had seized up completely (I glazed over when he began with the technicalities).  He took our car away to be fixed and us and all our bags to our front door.

This could have happened on the M5 motorway.  Or the busy Link Road.  Or on the very steep hill that we were just about to drive down.   Therefore today I am feeling very lucky, and I have thanked my guardian angel, he was certainly looking over us.   We survived.

More Marwood

Another favourite from yesterday’s visit to Marwood Hill Gardens is this bizarrely beautiful Kalanchoe beharensis, or the Elephant’s ear kalanchoe.  How can you possibly go wrong with a plant/pachyderm hybrid?


You can strike up friendships in the strangest of places.   Well I can anyway.   A packed polytunnel at the both marvellous and cruelly irresistible Sampford Shrubs, was one such place.  The person in question, who I befriended, or perhaps befriended me, was a visitor from Cornwall.  I was on my way to Somerset.  On reflection making a friend surrounding by plants is not strange at all.   For me anyway.  We met, we bonded over row upon row of salvias, dahlias and other delectables, and we went our separate ways.   After a few years of house moves and life changes we met once more today, reunited by the would-be demon “social media”.  And where better to have this reconnection than Marwood Hill Gardens?

This Meconopsis napaulensis was for me one of the outstanding plants of our visit, although there were many to coo over.  A fabulous day.



Lachenalia quadricolor

Yesterday I attended, along with Hero and OH, the local Plant Heritage lecture day and lunch at Marwood Hill Gardens.   I listened intently, notebook in hand, to talks on scented shrubs and later about botanising in Madagascar.   I even remembered to pack my specs so I could actually see the slide show.   I wandered around the garden for a meagre hour, enjoying bluebells and magnolias.   I scoffed my lunch, including a rather fine mixed fruit crumble and custard, and made new acquaintances.  I possibly heckled the Officer in Charge of Raffle Drawing and then won two books (one on rhodies and one about growing fruit.  All rather wonderful.  But before all this had begun, there was another important job to be completed.  Yes, you’ve guess it, shopping!  In true plant hunter style I tasered the opposition and perused the fine wares on the plant table.

The result of which is that I have bought another inappropriate plant.  There was no deception involved, I knew just what I was buying.  I have killed one before.  Lachenalia quadricolor, the four-coloured opal flower.  Its natural habitat is in crevices of granite outcrops throughout the Western Cape of South Africa.  And it will not tolerate frost.  What could possibly go wrong?  But just look at it, surely not one of you could have resisted!?

I may also have bought a trillium.