Saturday Snippet: Garden Travel

Book about Garden Tourism by Richard W. Benfield

I don’t own the book pictured but I plan to engage in a lot of “garden tourism” soon. We will be traveling to Devon, Cornwall and Ireland this summer! I am so excited to see these beautiful parts of the world for the first time.  We will actually start in Glastonbury then work our way down the coast counterclockwise, ending up near Torquay for a family wedding. What gardens in the Southwest of England are not to be missed, in your opinion?

After the wedding, we will go to Northern Ireland and Dublin for a few days. I am excited to see the Giants’ Causeway and Trinity College, which my grandmother attended briefly many years ago. I know there will be many beautiful gardens to see in Ireland — which would you recommend? Thanks!

Saturday Snippet: Non Morris on LILY OF THE VALLEY

Painting of Lily of the Valley, 2009, Charlotte Verity.

Garden and floral designer Non Morris wrote this lovely piece about lilies of the valley, a flower emblematic of the month of May, a couple of years ago.


The Dahlia Papers



Convallaria majalis var. rosea after the rain

On the wooden table outside our kitchen door I have a terracotta pot of the most elegant pink lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis var. rosea.  The pot was given to me as a precious container of newly planted bulbs by my friend the painter, Charlotte Verity .  The gift was important as it was a memento of an extraordinary year Charlotte spent as Artist in Residence at The Garden Museum in London in 2010.  Here in the shadow of the ruddy castellated walls of neighbouring Lambeth Palace, Charlotte spent a year painting in Tradescant’s Garden – the knot garden created in 1981 by the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury around the important tomb of the Seventeenth Century plant hunters.

majalis 3

Lily of the Valley 2009 – Charlotte Verity


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Saturday Snippet: January

Calensariel at Impromptu Promptlings posted recently about poet W.S. Merwin and encouraged readers to share a favorite. Here’s another, suitable for reading this week especially after all the warm rain we have had lately:


The poet, translator, and environmental activist W. S. Merwin has become one of the most honored and widely read poets in America and was appointed United States poet laureate in 2010. Today, he lives, writes and gardens in Hawaii, on Maui. His poem “January” evokes a cold wintry night.
— Poetry Foundation

By W. S. Merwin

So after weeks of rain
at night the winter stars
that much farther in heaven
without our having seen them
in far light are still forming
the heavy elements
that when the stars are gone
fly up as dust finer
by many times than a hair
and recognize each other
in the dark traveling
at great speed and becoming
our bodies in our time
looking up after rain
in the cold night together

A good Samaritan

Dave in Virginia has posted the most beautiful photos of his Cornus Kousa “Samaritan” on his blog. I have native American dogwoods in my garden but his pictures are enough to inspire longing for this Chinese dogwood.

Ramblin' through Dave's Garden

In May, I was quite pleased to finally have flowers on the ‘Samaritan’ Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Samaritan’ below). The dogwood, with excellent green and white variegation, is planted along stone steps that descend from one patio to another between two small ponds in the upper garden. The tree is prominently viewed from the kitchen window, and though it has grown vigorously to at least fifteen feet, the absence of flowers has been a bit disappointing.Samaritan dogwood

‘Samaritan’ has been partially shaded by a tall threadbranch cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera) and a wide spreading Fernleaf Japanese maple (Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’), and while this has not slowed its growth, it has evidently inhibited flowering. To my eye there appears to be sufficient light, but as is often the case, my vote doesn’t count.

Now, I am supposing that the dogwood has grown tall enough that its upper branches reach more sunlight,and so there…

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