Pretty Prunus



This is Prunus ‘Kanzan’ a very popular flowering Cherry. There was 3 or 4 on the block where I grew up in Slough, I always thought they were amazing before I had an inkling that I would be a plantaholic. I think this distinctly urban upbringing has fuelled my thirst for the all things green; the other thing about Slough is the smell of Mars bars, I woke up to the sweet smell from the Mars factory every morning mmmmmm lovely ?


Awesome Water Feature and it’s Inhabitants

This fantastically opulent water feature at Cliveden, Berkshire, UK had many admirers today. Not just for the fact it has a massive marble shell at it’s centre piece with equally beautifully sculpted maids around it acting as fountains. A rather cute family of Mallards has taken up residence in the feature adding to it’s allure and after the ‘wows’ from looking at the fountain people swiftly moved on to ‘aah’s’ when the ducklings were spotted.

Many photo’s were taken before one poor member of the family got separated from it’s mum.

Are theythis way?

Are they that way?

No that way!

Brother or sister duck comes to the rescue.

Back in the fold with mum.

Detail of water feature.

View of the fountain.

White Toad Shade




Trilliums are ace; this is Trillium albidum or white wake robin, these are growing at the bottom of a wall where they are afforded lots of protection. Trilliums are also known as Birth root; I think this because they are believed to stop bleeding hence the child birth references, they are over collected in the wild for gardens and are not easy to grow, Deer like to eat them too!

Life’s a Bowl of Cherries


Just on the right in the main entrance of he Harris garden you will come across this flowering Cherry, Prunus ‘Tai Haku’ meaning great white. We have quite a few on campus of varying ages; for me it’s one the best flowering Cherries because of the sheer volume and opulence of its flowering display. It was lost to cultivation until found in a garden in Sussex and reintroduced, it’s readily available now and I have plans to plant more! My other favourite cherries are p. sargentii which has great autumn colour, the winter flowering P.subhertilla ‘autumnalis’ and ‘Rosea’. I also love our native P. avium , we have loads of them on campus and unlike the Japanese cherries they get tall. At the moment they are stunning in the woodland edges all around Whiteknights campus.
The gent you can see photographing the cherry is Dominik Croe , head of Grounds for Bonn University, he shadowed me for a week and we had a good time looking at plants, talking about machines and moaning about difficult staff and lack of funds! We ate well too, so I am now going to have to work a bit harder to get back in shape, joy :-/ I look forward to going out there to visit him and will post pictures of Dahlia ‘Bonner Universitat’ given to us as a present by him.

Beautiful Bulbs in Boggy Borders

A windy day spring day in Henley’s Greenlands campus has supplied me with some nice pics of some bulbs for moist soils. The Snakes head fritillary above lives on water meadows, it is the County flower of Oxford. Much of its habitat was removed during and after the WW2 when it was ploughed up for vegetable growing.

The Leucojum aestivum or summer snow flake is a nice plant, strapping leaves and white flowers with green flecks. It’s other common name is the Loddon lily, as it was supposed to native to Berkshire where it is the national the County flower.

This is Narcissus Actea, it’s a very classy Daff; it’s very similar to N. Pheasants Eye which is last Daff to flower in Mid May. Nice.


These plants are native to the UK in chalk/limestone areas, mainly on undisturbed soils. As they grow on ancient barrows, earth mounds, hill forts they were thought to have grown where Dane or Roman blood had been spilled. It is now a rare plant in the wild and these pictured are a bred variety .

Iris japonica

This plant was grown on campus 200 years ago when the it was owned by Marquis of Blandford. His wife was an accomplished botanical painter and there are about 80 prints including one of this plant at Blenheim palace. They moved to Blenheim when he became Duke of Malborough in 1817. Most are rare and very tender; it would be nice to collect them all again and wheel them out occasionally.