Prairie planting at Lascaux

Pennisetum and seedheads

18,000 years ago, the cave at Lascaux, in southwestern France, was visited by a group of prehistoric hunters who set about creating their masterpieces. With pieces of iron oxide, manganese oxide, charcoal and kaolin, and using the cave walls as their canvas, they painted their subterranean cathedral.

In earthy shades of reds, browns and yellows, nearly one thousand animal figures – horses, aurochs, bison and red deer – clamber, jump and charge across the walls of the underground gallery. The story of how the cave entrance was discovered in 1940, in a country ravaged by war, by an 18 year old boy and his dog, seems almost as much a fairy tale as the idea of prehistoric man, clutching his...

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A Crescendo of Crocuses

Spring Crocuses - from the Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner

What’s the collective noun for a group of crocuses? A cluster, a crowd, a colony? A swathe, a dazzle, a drift?

On a bright, chill-nipped, late-February afternoon in Cannizaro Park, the word which comes to mind is crescendo – the pale buds, pushing up in clumps through the crumpled dead leaves and winter mud-brown soil, gradually increasing in number and intensity of colour, spilling across the grassy borders, unfurling to reveal orange stamen and deep purple petals, peaking at the very moment I reach the park gates!

Cannizaro Park is a 34-acre Grade II* listed English Heritage garden, to the south of Wimbledon Common. A private garden for 300 years, it was acquired by Wimbledon Borough Council, now London Borough...

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Sky-high Water Garden

The Water Garden at night from Weatherstaff landscape design software

I’ve visited lots of gardens, but The Water Garden at Emquartier – slap bang in the middle of a luxury shopping mall and five storeys above the city streets – was a new experience for me.

EmQuartier is Bangkok’s brand new shopping mall, next to Phrom Phong BTS station and just across Sukhumvit Road from the well-established (and recently renovated) Emporium mall. Alongside the modern glass and chrome architecture, there’s been a real effort to create breathing green spaces on every level.

Outdoor walkways connect the different zones and from these vantage points, as well as superb views of the city, you can spot the foliage of the Water Garden high up in the Helix Quartier and an impressive waterfall,...

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A Visit to the Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens

With a feeling of excitement, adventure and just a little trepidation, we recently set off on an amazing family road trip in northern Thailand. Stunning mountain scenery, tranquil tea plantations, fruit juice freshly squeezed at an orange orchard, a night of solitude with just the frogs and cicadas for company in an isolated hilltribe village awaited us.

After a particularly adventurous experience, lurching and jolting over a lonely mountain road not yet fully surfaced (but with the most fantastic view in the whole of Thailand), we headed back to the charming, moated city of Chiang Mai and civilisation.

On the way, we stopped at the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, near the little town of Mae Rim and about 30 miles...

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