Classical gardens and contemporary art in China

Western thinking on garden history tends to be almost unconsciously European in focus – we might evoke the eighteenth century, and think of ha-has and arboreta, or perhaps a Renaissance Italian stroll garden, ornamented with classical statuary. But when mediaeval apothecaries were busy enclosing medicinal herbs in box compartments, one of our greatest cultures was quite literally moving mountains. In China, where the most exciting contemporary art is also to be found, gardens and art have been inextricably linked for almost two thousand years. Continue reading “Classical gardens and contemporary art in China”

The remarkable genus Camellia

For many gardeners around the world, the word camellia conjures up images of a reliable shrub that produces gorgeous autumn and winter displays of pink, red and white flowers or sometimes combinations thereof. These flowers come in a range of interesting flower types from the simple ‘wild’ types to the multi-petalled  ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ double types. The glossy dark green foliage also makes a wonderful backdrop in the garden as a stage for displays of other flowering plants. Continue reading “The remarkable genus Camellia”

China’s Tangshan International Horticultural Expo opens

Tangshan South China garden

The city of Tangshan in northern China last week opened the 2016 Tangshan International Horticultural Exposition. During an amazing opening ceremony, involving performances from hundreds of Tangshan citizens, guests from around the world celebrated the start of this six month event that is expected to attract many millions of visitors. Continue reading “China’s Tangshan International Horticultural Expo opens”

Yunnan, China, treasure trove of plants and ethnic cultures

I am excited to tell you, dear reader, that I have been invited to lead a tour ‘In the Footsteps of the Plant Collectors’ to one of the most botanically diverse areas on earth, Yunnan Province in China. A number of our most treasured garden plants such as roses, magnolias, rhododendrons, poppies and many others come from this floral treasure trove. Continue reading “Yunnan, China, treasure trove of plants and ethnic cultures”

Peony paradise!

I had promised Catherine a story about my incredible visit to the Peony Festival at Luoyang in central China in April this year. It’s a bit late, as I have been travelling since then but here it is at last! Each Spring, a Festival to showcase the unofficial national flower of China, the treepeony is held in and around Luoyang, the capital of Henan Province and a ‘medium’ sized city of only 7 million people!! Continue reading “Peony paradise!”