Many years ago we were given a clump of cowslips and we planted them under an old apple tree where they grew moderately well, until the rest of the garden began to grow even better. The vegetation swamped these delicate plants and we thought they had disappeared. Until this Spring when this brave specimen popped up in the middle of the lawn, quite some distance from the original site. It will now be nurtured like the treasure that it is.



Prickly Cushion

I have a cactus garden in my greenhouse. It’s fairly new, only about a year old, though I’ve had some of the cacti a long time. Just now some are bursting into glorious flower, yet they are interesting at all times of the year. Here is one, pre-flower, with beautiful white spines in whorls. Sadly, it’s one I don’t have a name for.




Every Christmas I used to buy my late father a neatly packed Hippeastrum bulb, which he would nurture with great delight until it produced its huge, startling flowers to brighten up the Winter window-ledge. This year I decided to buy one for myself (my daughter bought one too) and I was duly rewarded with seven stunning white flowers that, although they didn’t last long, became a very showy focus for a couple of weeks.



The Eryngium, or Sea Holly, is one of the plants I would love to grow in my garden but cannot. Since it needs excellent drainage and full sunshine it cannot cope with my heavy clay soil and the abundance of trees that block the howling winds. However, this plant was one of many growing very happily at Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, its striking metallic blue stems and flowers blending effortlessly in the vibrant borders.