Category Archives: Gardens

Mistletoe


There are pages of mythology attached to mistletoe, a word coming from the old English, misteltãn. Apparently the ancient Greeks believed the plant had once offended the gods, who condemned it thereafter to have to look on whilst pretty girls were being kissed. So there you have it. Happy Christmas folks…..and happy kissing!

Raul Conde Vila, tree expert at Wisley


Raul Conde Vila, tree expert at Wisley, standing next to a Giant Redwood. This shows the scale of the tree, which measures over 5 metres around the base, indicating an age of approximately 100 years. The lower photo is a Metasequoia glyptostroboides or Dawn redwood. A prehistoric tree thought extinct, but discovered growing in China in 1943. Currently classified as endangered.  

Castanea sativa or sweet chestnut


Castanea sativa or sweet chestnut – from Old Men of the Woods portfolio at Wisley. Around 100 to 150 years old, these could live up to 700 years. So, like the Giant Redwoods, mere teenagers. Both of these trees are in the area threatened by the A3 widening scheme. Although the fruit has become part of winter or Christmas tradition, the chestnut is not a native species and is thought to have been introduced to the British Isles by the Romans. The Greeks dedicated the sweet chestnut to the god Zeus and its botanical name castanea comes from Castonis, a […]

Garden of the Year


Nice to have the cover of this month’s Gardeners’ World magazine, with their Gardens of the Year competition issue. Congratulations to all the lovely folk I met en-route in a slightly mad 8 day dash across the UK from Kent, Hampshire, Wales, up to the Lake District, Scotland and finally to the Orkney Islands. And thanks for all the 5am cups of coffee, bacon sandwiches and chocolate biscuits to keep me going…I promise, I wasn’t a judge!

The Old Men Of The Woods


In 2007 I took photographs for a folio called ‘Pinhole Impressions’, which is a record of trees at RHS Wisley using a pinhole camera. I was lucky enough to have this exhibited at both Kew and Wisley at the time. 10 years on, some of these trees are under threat from the proposed development of the M25 and A3 road junction. With the help of the folk at Wisley, I have started a new project with the working title ‘The Old Men Of The Woods’ recording some of the 500 trees that could be lost. Some are rare, some are […]