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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Winning Combinations

Allium sphaerocephalon with Stipa tenuissima and Chamaemelum nobile planing idea for well-drained soil

Some plants make perfect bedfellows. Here are some of my favourite plant combinations.

Here’s an irresistible trio of plants for well-drained soil in full sun.

Alliums are flowering plants which include onions, garlic and chives, as well as a number of gorgeously trendy, ornamental plants for the herbaceous border. Allium sphaerocephalon is also known as the round-headed leek or drumstick allium.

The ovoid flowerheads, densely packed with bell-shaped flowers, sway on slender stems, green at first then maturing to a delicious dark red-purple. The strap-like foliage is already starting to wither when the summer flowers appear and can be cut back if necessary.

The intensity of the flowerhead fades to parchment as the summer passes. A bulbous perennial, it will...

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Daffadowndilly

Daffodils Weatherstaff Plant Profile

“Daffodils that come before the swallow dares, and takes the winds of March with beauty.”

William Shakespeare

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet, She wore her greenest gown; She turned to the south wind And curtsied up and down. She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head, And whispered to her neighbour: “Winter is dead.”

Daffodowndilly – AA Milne

The daffodil is the national flower of Wales. On March 1st – St David’s Day – we dressed up in Welsh National Costume, complete with frilly apron and tall black hat, and pinned on a daffodil. By the end of the day, it was a sorry, droopy little thing, but, still, I always preferred a real daffodil, with its fresh,...

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New Plants for Old!

Anemone blanda landscaping design

There’s something deeply satisfying about getting a bargain. Grabbing that floaty cardi you’d been eyeing up, now with a hefty discount tag attached to it. Booking a stay at a hotel that would have been out of your price range if it hadn’t had its rates reduced. Fortunately, being a plant-lover and a bargain-hunter is not mutually exclusive!

Garden centres are devilish places. They beguile and bewitch and tempt you with plants at the peak of their flowering season. If you pick up one small pot, it sits there forlornly, bereft of its friends and neighbours, in danger of tipping over, without another pot or two to offer support.

So you pop another plant in – and the combination of...

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Does a garden add value to your home?

Narcissus Hawera

Most buyers are prepared to pay extra for a home with a garden. According to Phil Spencer, of Location, Location, Location, outside space could increase the value of your property by up to 20%.

We can be reasonably sure, though, that a well cared-for, colourful garden is a far more attractive proposition than a weedy, cluttered outside area.

So, whether you are intending to put your house on the market or stay put, you have all the justification you need for spending more time pottering in your garden.

Autumn is a good time for tidying up, cutting back spent flowers and clearing away fallen leaves. It’s worthwhile spending time thinking about how your garden has looked over the course of...

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