Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens have been on my ‘must visit’ list for some time.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens have been on my radar for some time so I was pleased to finally get the chance to visit this month. The gardens are a showcase for what can survive and thrive in our climate. Aside from the favourable climate of coastal Dorset, the gardens have been planted with foresight and windbreaks to create microclimates.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Traditional path with interesting planting

I’ve had a week of annual leave and we decided to take a day out and make the short trip to Dorset. We make regular trips to Surrey but have never managed to combine the drive past the door with a visit. I’m planning a redesign of the top garden to incorporate more exotic and Australian planting and I was hoping to get some inspiration.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Gingko biloba hovering over the stream

How to find Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

 

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.

The gardens are located near Chesil Beach. We turned off the A35 at Bridport and followed the stunning coast road.

Useful Information

Website: https://abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk/gardens/

Entrance: A very reasonable £12.50  per adult at the gate. There are online discounts and RHS members get free entry at the end of the year.

Opening times: Open every day except 18th December to1st January. 10am to 5pm (or 4pm in winter)

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Subtropical foliage

Around the garden

The gardens are organised into smaller areas and some larger ones. The cafe is a colonial-style building built in the old walled garden. There are grass borders, a large woodland area, and some formal ponds.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Sunny steps

The woodland area was looking great in November. The Acers were stunning and cast a glow over the pleasant walk. There was a great Gingko next to a stream looking great in its autumn yellow.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Contrasting leaf colours in the woodland

We took the pram and went for a gentle stroll around the grounds. There were some steps and some uneven ground but the paths are well marked and a clear wheelchair route signposted.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Gunnera alongside the pond

We went on a cool, dry, November day and there were plenty of interesting plants to see. The coffee was great and the facilities were of a high standard and very clean. There is a plant sales area but I was disappointed to see that most of the interesting plants I had noted weren’t for sale. It may be that these weren’t offered at this time of year. The selection there was nice, the plants looked healthy, but there wasn’t anything I can’t get anywhere else.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Acer in full autumn colours

Notable Plants

One of the great things about visiting gardens is the chance to meet new plants. I always have my camera handy for taking notes and pictures for research later.

I’ve seen Fasicularia bicolor in Australia and more recently at a hotel in Cornwall. It’s now familiar but I can never remember its name.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Fascicularia bicolor

I think this was the largest Gingko that I’ve seen and the yellow leaves made me stop and stare upwards.

Gingko biloba

The Pseudopanax was well labelled, as were a lot of the specimen trees, and it’s firmly on my wish list.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Pseudopanax laetus

I had to take to Twitter to find the identity of this plant. The fruit looked familiar but I just couldn’t place it. Thankfully, Dr Dale Dixon from The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney helped me out with an ID. This is also now on the wish list. Luckily Plant World Seeds lists it.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Solanum betaceum – the Tamarillo

Other UK Garden Visits

The Eden Project, Cornwall

Sussex Prairie Garden

RHS Wisley, Surrey, UK

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Kew Garden

Garden Visit: Eden Project Cornwall October 2017

Eden Project, Cornwall, Garden Visit, Garden Visit Eden Project Cornwall, Gardening, garden, garden blog, biomes, rainforest, autumn days out, UK, England, hortitourism, horticulture, science, glasshouse, greenhouse, tropical, arid, sunflower, grass border,

If you’re holidaying in the UK there are plenty of world-class gardens to discover and Cornwall’s flagship is The Eden Project

During a mini-break staycation for our anniversary, my wife and I met up with my lovely gardening aunt for a day out to two Cornish Gardens. We visited the Eden Project in the morning and The Pinetum, which is just down the road from its more famous neighbour, after filling up on a pasty for lunch.

How to find the Eden Project

The safest route is to head towards St Austell and following the brown tourist signs to find the main entrance. Previously we’ve followed the Sat Nav and ended up coming through some small lanes. It’s probably a longer route on the main roads but at least you cant get lost.

Eden Project, Cornwall, Garden Visit, Garden Visit Eden Project Cornwall, Gardening, garden, garden blog, biomes, rainforest, autumn days out, UK, England, hortitourism, horticulture, science, glasshouse, greenhouse, tropical, arid, sunflower, grass border,

Useful Information

Website: www.edenproject.com

Entrance: an eye-watering £27 per adult at the gate.

Opening times – quite variable within the month. Somewhere between 9-9:30 and closing by 6pm. The biomes open later at 10am. It’s best to check for the day you’re planning on going.

Outside areas

Eden Project, Cornwall, Garden Visit, Garden Visit Eden Project Cornwall, Gardening, garden, garden blog, biomes, rainforest, autumn days out, UK, England, hortitourism, horticulture, science, glasshouse, greenhouse, tropical, arid, sunflower, grass border,
A view over the two large Biomes

The site is split into a few areas of note. The two main Biomes share a linkway which houses facilities and restaurant. One side is a tropical rainforest biome and the other house is a more arid, Meditteranean-like environment. There are purely ornamental plantings and on the steep slopes at the far end are various food crops from around the world on show.  It’s sold as a full day attraction, and it would have to be for the entry costs, but even with two gardening fans in the group we only managed 3 hours before it was time to move on.

Eden Project, Cornwall, Garden Visit, Garden Visit Eden Project Cornwall, Gardening, garden, garden blog, biomes, rainforest, autumn days out, UK, England, hortitourism, horticulture, science, glasshouse, greenhouse, tropical, arid, sunflower, grass border,
Sunflower planting in front of the Rainforest Biome

The biomes

The biggest draw is the two biomes. These amazing structures are the real highlights for me. It’s interesting visiting again after living overseas and spending some time in Thailand and Singapore as the rainforest biome. On my first visit the plants we alien to me and I didn’t find them that interesting. Coming back this year they’re now familiar, almost ubiquitous, and I found myself spending more time looking at the foliage and flowers.

Eden Project, Cornwall, Garden Visit, Garden Visit Eden Project Cornwall, Gardening, garden, garden blog, biomes, rainforest, autumn days out, UK, England, hortitourism, horticulture, science, glasshouse, greenhouse, tropical, arid, sunflower, grass border,
Inside the Rainforest Biome

The temperate biome has a special feature on Western Australia which is an interesting, if small, new addition.

In summary

I’m glad to have visited again as it’s been a good number of years since we were last there. That being said there’s nothing really new to see so if you’ve been in the last 5 years you’re not missing out. For the money spent it feels a bit overpriced, as impressive as the biomes are, it almost needs more here to keep your interest. We also noted that the amount of plant labeling is poor. Where plants are so international and unique you have to have labels to fully appreciate what you’re seeing.

Eden Project, Cornwall, Garden Visit, Garden Visit Eden Project Cornwall, Gardening, garden, garden blog, biomes, rainforest, autumn days out, UK, England, hortitourism, horticulture, science, glasshouse, greenhouse, tropical, arid, sunflower, grass border,
Grass borders on the slopes

Other UK Garden Visits

Sussex Prairie Garden

RHS Wisley, Surrey, UK

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Kew Garden

Melbourne Botanical Garden

Melbourne Botanical Garden

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

During a recent weekend away to Melbourne my wife and I took a leisurely stroll from the hotel down to the botanical gardens. We have been there twice before but it’s always a highlight of our stays and since this is going to be our last trip for a while we made the most of it.

The Melbourne Garden is one of two botanical gardens run by Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. The other is Cranbourne and is a large site to the south east of the city. We visited this two years ago on our way to Philip Island.

How to find the garden

The gardens are a large area of green sitting below the River Yarra that bisects the main city. We walked from the CBD through the open parks to the west and entered at the Observatory Gate which is located beside the Shrine of Remembrance. A full PDF map of the garden can be found here.

Melbourne Botanical Garden map
A tram line runs below the park but it’s easily accessed from the river by foot
Map of Melbourne Botanical garden location
The garden is located to the South East of the CBD.

Useful Information

www.rbg.vic.gov.au

Entrance Fee: FREE!

Opening hours: 07:30 until sunset every day

There is cycle parking at the Observatory Gate as you’re not allowed to cycle around the garden itself. We weren’t aware of this when we first visited and entered through the top gate and spent the morning pushing to very heavy rental bikes around the garden.

Main Features

  • Guilfoyles Volcano
  • Children’s Garden
  • Lakes and Islands
  • Canna Bed Rain Garden
  • Tropical Glasshouse
  • Herbarium
  • Potager
  • Eucalyptus Walk
  • Rainforest Walk

Guilfoyle’s Volcano

Guilfoyle's Volcano Pond
Guilfoyle’s Volcano Pond

At the top of the garden is a cone of planting with a raised pond. This is the where the parks water management system begins and rainwater is collected and managed as it passes through the grounds. It’s a lovely elevated spot for viewing the gardens with the city skyscrapers in the background.

Guilfoyle's Volcano
Guilfoyle’s Volcano at the Melbourne Botanical Garden.

Canna Bed Rain Garden

Canna Bed Rain Garden
Canna Bed Rain Garden

This eye-searing display is planted over a sump that forms the next part of the waterway that eventually leads to the lake. It was nice to see the variety of heights and colours in this genus. Instead of being a utilitarian eye-sore they’ve turned this into a feature to make use of the damp soil. Everyone had their phones out taking pictures and selfies with this backdrop.

Lakes and Islands

A main focus of the garden is the lake where you can take a gondola ride or have something to eat from the cafe overlooking the water.

Lotus in flower on the lake
Lotus in flower on the lake

This is the first time I had seen a lotus in real life. It’s easy to see why they’ve been revered for centuries. Simple yet elegant flowers stand proud of the foliage.

Potager

This summer I will be back in the UK I’m looking forward to starting a new allotment project. This potager garden is great inspiration for an orderly and beautiful productive space. My wife even conceded that a vegetable garden can be pretty as she’s not normally too enamoured with them.

Potager at Melbourne Botanic Garden
Sunflower blooming in the Potager at Melbourne Botanic Garden
Potager at Melbourne Botanic Garden
Unusual infestation at the Potager at Melbourne Botanic Garden
Potager at Melbourne Botanic Garden
Ordered beds in the Potager at Melbourne Botanic Garden

 Plant Highlights

Mother-in-laws Cushion (Echinocactus grusonii).
Mother-in-laws Cushion (Echinocactus grusonii).

This cactus was growing at the volcano on steep well-drained borders in full sun. It’s also known as the Golden Barrel Cactus (but where’s the fun in that?).

Hosperaloe funifera
Hosperaloe funifera -a mexican agavae relative

Throughout the park there are large flat-leaved Agavae with names and initials scraped in to them. I’m sure someone will find it an interesting urban trend like graffiti but I don’t like it.

Agave
Grafitti or community engagement? This Agave looks abused.

Other Botanical Garden Visits

Singapore Botanical Garden

Phuket Botanic Garden

RHS Wisley, Surrey, UK

Bicton Botanical Garden, Devon, UK

Gardens By The Bay, Singapore

Singapore Botanical garden 

Singapore Botanical Garden

Holiday Horticulture: Singapore Botanical Garden

My wife and I spent a long morning exploring the Singapore Botanical Garden during our recent New Years Eve city break. As usual when I’m on my travels I like to seek out an interesting garden or patch of nature as an antidote to the city.

This was a warm and sticky overcast day but with plenty of water and lots to see it was a fantastic activity for a tropical weekend away.

Information

www.sbg.org.sg

Entry Fee: FREE!!

Opening hours: 5am until 12 midnight daily

Boardwalk through lush tropical planting
Boardwalk through lush tropical planting

How to find the Singapore Botanical Garden

Map of Singapore
Map of Singapore
Local roads and public transport links to Singapore Botanical Garden
Local roads and public transport links to Singapore Botanical Garden

We took a local bus from our hotel to the Tanglin Gate Entrance at the south end of the garden. We walked through the gardens in a northerly direction and used the MRT (Botanic Gardens stop) back.

Gardens

  • Bonsai Garden
  • Sun Garden
  • Children’s Garden
  • Evolution Garden
  • Healing Garden
  • Fragrant Garden
  • Ginger Garden
  • Orchid Garden (Home of the National Orchid Collection)
  • Foliage Garden
  • Trellis Garden

Main Features

  • Bandstand
  • Swan Lake
  • Botany Centre
  • Heritage Museum

Plant Highlights

Vanda 'Miss Joaquim'
Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’

The national flower of Singapore is the Orchid Miss Joaquim which was bred in the country from bringing together two native species.

Heliconia 'lobster claw'
Heliconia ‘lobster claw’

The exotic Heliconias are bright and eye-catching plants.

Heliconia
Heliconia
Petrea Volubilis
Petrea Volubilis

This climbing plant was seen in the Trellis Garden (designed to show the different ways of growing climbers within a garden). This plant is interesting in that the colour of the blooms intensifies as you get to the end of the panicle.

Mussaenda pubescens
Mussaenda pubescens
Delonix regia
Delonix regia

 

Wildlife within the Singapore Botanical Garden

Monitor Lizard
Monitor Lizard

Monitor Lizards roam free through Singapore but tend to stick to the parks and more rural areas. We stayed far enough away not to bother it and not to put ourselves too close to those teeth.

Other Botanical Garden Visits

Phuket Botanic Garden

RHS Wisley, Surrey, UK

Bicton Botanical Garden, Devon, UK

Gardens By The Bay, Singapore

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Screen Shot 2017-01-21 at 11

This could be the most impressive urban garden in the world

Continuing this series of reports about the gardening highlights we’ve experienced during our recent holidays.

The Singapore skyline seen above the Grey Garden
The Singapore skyline seen above the Grey Garden

A highlight of my recent trip to Singapore was a visit to the Gardens by the Bay which has been on my bucket list since I first saw glimpses of it in a magazine article. Singapore is hoping to be a City in a Garden rather than a Garden City. The wider bay is a development on reclaimed land which is a new focus for the city and the site of the New Year’s Eve fireworks. The garden development consists of three larger sites named the Central, East and South Gardens. The most iconic of these is the South Garden with its grove of Supertrees. Since we were only staying in Singapore for a few nights we only visited this garden.

Gardens by the Bay Map

Gardens by the Bay Map
Gardens by the Bay Map showing the Bayfront MRT
Gardens by the Bay Map
Map showing location of Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

How to get to the South Garden

The nearest metro station is the Bayfront station located next to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel complex. From there you walk through the hotel lobby and over a skybridge into the garden proper.

An alternative is to get to the Tanjong Pagar metro station and take the 400 bus which drops you at the garden entrance.

It’s possible to walk directly from the city around the bay and into the gardens. One word of caution though – the distances covered are huge and that’s before you even get in to the garden. Pace yourself.

Entrance Fees

Entry to the wider garden is free. To enter the Conservatories or the Sky walk there is a fee (see below). If you’re looking for a beautiful walk for the day then utilising the free entry means you see the attractions from the outside and get to enjoy the main gardens on a thrifty budget. For those visiting just for the day then the Skywalk and Double Conservatory price is definitely worth paying for a full experience.

  • Skyway SG$8
  • One Conservatory SG$12
  • Both Conservatories SG$20

Garden Highlights

  • Flower Dome Conservatory
  • Cloud Forest Conservatory
  • Skyway
  • Supertrees Grove
  • Heritage Gardens
  • World of Plants
  • Silver Garden
  • Gold Garden

Flower Dome Conservatory

Pyrostegia venusta 'Orange Trumpet Vine'
Pyrostegia venusta ‘Orange Trumpet Vine’

The Flower Conservatory is a temperate zone showing plants from across the world. When we visited there was a Christmas display. It’s odd walking from a hot and humid environment into a cooler and drier conservatory as we’re so used to experiencing the other way around.

This bright climbing plant caught my eye (and my new camera’s lens) as we strolled around. I think I’ll try and source this back in the UK. I’m not sure yet whether it will be hardy enough but it can always be used as an annual.

Cloud Forest Conservatory

The waterfall within the Cloud Forest Conservatory
The waterfall within the Cloud Forest Conservatory

The mountain in this conservatory is planted with sheer walls of mountain plants displaying their variety of foliage types and colours with exotic orchids mixed in. The experience takes you through the levels of cloud forests and educational signage and displays highlight the strengths and threats to these environments.

A living green wall in the Cloud Forest
A living green wall in the Cloud Forest

Supertrees grove

Supertrees Grove
Vertical exotic planting seen on the Supertrees Grove

The Supertrees are designed to draw hot air up and away and collect rainwater for the garden. They are architecturally stunning but also provide planting opportunities. The Heritage gardens are located on a circular loop around the grove.

Bourgainvillea flowering on the vertical planting of the Supertrees
Bougainvillea flowering on the vertical planting of the Supertrees

Skywalk

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay Skywalk

The Skywalk takes you above the gardens for a unique vantage point of the dense planting below. This semi-circle walkway is suspended from some of the Supertrees and gives great photo opportunities of the city skyline.

A world-class display of science and society striving for better

This has to be on anyone’s bucket list but I would especially recommend it for anyone interested in horticulture, gardening, urban development and planning, sustainable cities and architecture.

The grey garden
The grey garden

 

Phuket Botanic garden 

https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanical-garden/

A visit to Phuket Botanic Garden

During my recent Christmas break we travelled to Phuket, Thailand, to spend the time off with my in-laws. Never one to miss an opportunity for seeing plants we duly took the car to explore the island’s attractions. Top of the list was the Phuket Botanic Garden which is located south west of the city of Phuket and on the other side of the island from the main tourist areas of Patong Beach, Karon Beach and Kata Beach.

How to get there

We had a hire car for the week so made our own way to the gardens. It was well signposted from the major routes and there was free parking to the side of the main entrance.

www.phuketbotanicgarden.com

https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/

https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/

 

Open 0900 – 1700 (closed Wednesdays)

98/89 Mu 4 Chao Fa Rd., Chalong Subdistrict, Muang District, Phuket 83130 Thailand

 

Entry fee for non-locals was 500 Baht (£11.50) (A lot of tourist attractions will offer a much cheaper entry fee for locals able to provide photo ID which I think is excellent)

Some of the plants on display

https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
Thalia geniculata, the bent alligator-flag, arrowroot, or fire-flag. Marginal plant with dierama-like flowers.
https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
Nephrolepis falcata furcans. Fishtail Swordfern
www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
I couldn’t resist showing you this little lady
https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
Cyrtostachys renda (red sealing wax palm or lipstick palm  The Garden Areas

 The Garden Areas

  • Herb Garden
  • Orchard
  • Sufficient Garden
  • Orchid Garden
  • Fern Garden
  • Cactus Garden
  • Rain Forest
  • Japanese Garden
  • English Garden
  • Bali Garden
  • Waterlily Garden
  • Palm Garden

Inside the Garden

https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
The plantings are lush and tropical
https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
The first area you arrive in shows the quality of planting and design on offer

The impressively ornamental gates open onto the first area. Here there are fun displays and on our visit a large heart-shaped planting that looked like a photoframe. Of course we both did the obligatory posing for the holiday album. Even though we only saw 2 or 3 gardeners during our visit the grounds were meticulously maintained. The paper map was useful for getting your bearings but you couldn’t get lost as there is one main loop that you walk along with the featured gardens opening on each side of the path.

 

 

https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
A large Koi pond at the furthest point in the garden where you can buy food to feed the fish.

We visited on a weekday on the run up to Christmas. I don’t know what the tourist season is in Phuket but most of the places we visited were lacking the people to keep them open. There were two other couples walking around the garden when we visited so it was lovely and quiet.

 

 

https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
Looking through a gap in the wall from the main path into the waterlily garden.

 

There were some beautiful plants on display and often there were plant labels to inform you of what you were looking at. However I have still had to spend some time tracking down the proper ID for lots of the things that caught my eye which is no great hardship and I find this with all botanical gardens I visit. Still, I had a great time playing with my new camera (a Christmas and Birthday present).

 

Some of my other botanical garden days out

Mount Tomah, NSW, Australia

Bicton Garden, Devon, UK

RHS Wisley, Surrey, UK

 

https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
One of the smaller gardens featured include the fruit / productive garden.
https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
Waterlily flowering
https://www.mypottingbenchblog.com/phuket-botanic-garden/
Costus woodsonii – also known as the spiral ginger

 

The surprising places to find horticulture: Singapore Airport Floral Displays 

img_2518

 

Singapore leads the Green Cities of the world. I transferred through the airport on my way to a family Christmas in Thailand (more posts to follow) and was struck by the presence of a lot of horticulture on show before you even leave the airport.  A lot of this may have been due to it being 3 days before Christmas but I get the sense that there’s a lot on display for most of the year.

The Christmas Displays

The traditional pine trees of the northern hemisphere were well represented but mixed with a tropical display of Orchids and Poinsettias. I have since found out that the orchids on display were mainly the official flower of Singapore. This is Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’. More on that to come in future posts.

The surprising places to find horticulture: Singapore Airport Floral Displays 
Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’, Pointsettia and decorated pines
The surprising places to find horticulture: Singapore Airport Floral Displays 
Orchids, Christmas Tree and tropical planting
The surprising places to find horticulture: Singapore Airport Floral Displays 
Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis) combined with pine Christmas Tree and tropical foliage

Airport Gardens

I was very excited to see signs to a Waterlily Garden and a desert garden. My excitement soon evaporated when I realised that these were simply outdoor spaces designated as smoking areas. Huge disappointment as I wasn’t able to explore them in any detail.

The surprising places to find horticulture: Singapore Airport Floral Displays 
The waterlily garden in Singapore airport.

The Green Wall

I had to go and give the plants a rummage to convince myself that this was in fact a collection of real plants on display and not simply some fakes lined up for show. What an example of what can be achieved in a low light environment! Very impressive.

The surprising places to find horticulture: Singapore Airport Floral Displays 

Holiday Horticulture: Hayman Island

Holiday Horticulture Hayman Island
Holiday Horticulture Hayman Island
Location of Hayman Island in the Whitsundays off the coast of Australia

 

Hayman Island is just off the coast of Queensland, Australia and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. We visited on a recent holiday to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I took the opportunity to explore the tropical plantings around the resort and we hiked over the top of the island.

My wife and I love to travel and I always try and find the local wildlife.

Sorrento and Amalfi 

Morocco 

 

This is the view from the top of the island overlooking the One & Only resort situated on Hayman Island.

Holiday Horticulture Hayman Island

The only way to arrive at the island and the One & Only resort is by a swanky boat. The glass of champagne and the air conditioning are welcome relief from the steamy Queensland heat.

Holiday Horticulture Hayman Island

 

Shapes and Colours

Below is a close up of the beautiful Fan Palm or Travellers palm (Ravenala madagascariensis) which is found all over the cultivated parts of the resort. Beside it sits the rivets of a type of Gum Tree bark.

Holiday Horticulture Hayman IslandHoliday Horticulture Hayman Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gum Tree Comparison

The variety of gums, or Eucalypts, is always impressive. I’m used to seeing Eucalytpus gunnii growing in gardens in the UK and for a while we had 2 flanking the top steps in our first home back in Devon. It would be interesting to see how large they’ve become after 6 years!.

The large-flowered varieties in Oz show a huge range of flower colours and shapes as you can see below.

Holiday Horticulture Hayman IslandHoliday Horticulture Hayman Island

 

Profit and Pest

 

There are imported bananas on the island to add a tropical backdrop to the pool areas. On the mainland there are huge swathes of agriculture dedicated to bananas and it was great fun on our honeymoon driving amongst them. The plant on the right is the Narrow leaf cotton bush (Gomphocarpus fruticosus). This is considered a pest in some parts of Western Australia. Up close it’s a lovely plant with perfumed white flowers. Displayed at the same time as the blooms are the spiky balls of the seed heads. Good fun!

Holiday Horticulture Hayman IslandHoliday Horticulture Hayman Island

 

It’s lovely seeing plants growing wild in their natural habitats. You can see why some gum trees just don’t thrive in the UK as here they’re growing in rocky sloped ground and being baked by intense UV light. Not the easiest conditions to recreate at home.

 

Holiday Horticulture Hayman Island

Holiday Horticulture Hayman Island

 

 

Holiday Horticulture : Sorrento and Amalfi

image

The second holiday we had this summer was to the Sorrento peninsula for a family wedding. I had never been to this part of Italy before and apart from a quick weekend in Venice some years ago I haven’t seen much of this country. Monty Don’s programmes on gardens around the world, specifically Italian Gardens, were my only exposure to the gardens to be seen.

Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi

We stayed in a hilltop village called Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi just south of Sorrento town. My wife and I took a long walk around the hills and back streets of the villages in the region. What struck us was the vegetable gardens attached to each of these rural villas and even within the villages themselves. I turned green with envy watching row after row of plump tomatoes ripening outside.

Private garden near Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi
Private garden near Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi
Coastal grasses near Torca
Coastal grasses near Torca

Sorrento

The town of Sorrento doesn’t have much to offer as a horticultural holiday but the views over the bay to Naples are lovely and the small cloisters where the wedding ceremony took place in was beautiful.

View from Sorrento over bay to Naples
View from Sorrento over bay to Naples
St Francesco Cloister
St Francesco Cloister

Ravello

By far and away the highlight for us was a trip to Amalfi and Ravello. Having spent the week gripping the steering wheel of a fiat panda doing hairpin turns around the steep hills of the area it took some courage to plan a trip to Ravello. Our guide book stated it had 2 open gardens and a quiet square with cafes for lunch but was 90 mins away from where we were staying and located at the top of a hill. It was worth the journey.

Villa Rufolo is charming but the main attraction is the iconic view down over Amalfi. We had a tourist ticket that included all the sites of Ravello so we were able to stroll around the village and peak into any one that took our fancy.

Amalfi coast from Villa Rufolo
Amalfi coast from Villa Rufolo

Villa Cimbrone was our favourite. It was a pleasant walk through narrow streets up the hill and out of the main part of the village. I recently saw the garden featured on Alex Polizzi’s new TV programme. It has a variety of different areas including lawns, rose garden, arbour and an ‘infinity’ terrace. I have never been stunned to silence before but the view from here stopped me in my tracks. Breathtaking. I can’t wait to go back.

image

"<yoastmark

"<yoastmark

"<yoastmark

"View

Holiday Horticulture : Marrakech’s Top Gardens

Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech’s Top Gardens

Firstly, I must apologise for radio silence on my part. It’s been a busy few months for us in Devon with a change of job (becoming self employed), getting married, a holiday and a Minimoon. The garden has suffered from this neglect and my blog was the worst casualty. So to make up for this I thought I’d brighten the rainy Autumnal weather of late with some sunny pictures.

My new wife and I went to Marrakech for a short break after the buzz and business of wedding mania. Having never been before we used a Top 10 guide book to direct us around the must see gardens and sites. It was wonderful. Despite being a desert climate, the city is undergoing a ‘re-greening’ with rows of orange trees and roses being planted along the highways making it a verdant modern city.

Majorelle Gardens

www.jardinmajorelle.com

Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco

Probably the most fashionable and famous garden located to the north of the old city and walkable from the new city. It was originally laid out by artist Jacques Majorelle (hence the name) but rescued by fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent in the 80s which elevated it in popularity.

Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco

It is a jungle-style garden and a lush relief from the arid surroundings. The searing blue of its walls has become iconic.

I found it rather small and a little disappointing. The plants were wonderful but poorly labelled and felt like it was trying too hard. Being three times the price of every other attraction in the city didn’t endear it to me at all and it felt more style than substance.

Koutoubia Gardens

Sitting at the feet of its namesake Mosque, this public park space has roses bordered by topiary hedges and flat-topped Orange trees. It’s a calm, free, space near the very centre of the old city and worth a wander on the way to Manoumia.

Koutoubia Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Koutoubia Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Koutoubia Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Koutoubia Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco

Mamounia Hotel Gardens

www.mamounia.com

Mamounia Hotel Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Mamounia Hotel Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco

This rather grand hotel (a favourite of Winston Churchill) has 17 acres of beautiful gardens stretching out behind it. It’s free to enter – just make sure you’re not wearing shorts and T shirt as there is a dress code and you will be turned away at the gate (as we found out). Once suitably attired you can swan through the plush lobby and out the back into the gardens. These were my favourites in Marrakech. Probably because it felt familiar as it draws on The English Garden for its inspiration.

Mamounia Hotel Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Mamounia Hotel Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Mamounia Hotel Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Mamounia Hotel Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco

Here you can see roses, olive and citrus trees and even the vegetable garden. Beautiful. They even do fantastic cocktails on the terrace.

Mamounia Hotel Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Mamounia Hotel Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Mamounia Hotel Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco
Mamounia Hotel Gardens, Marrakech, Morocco