Search Results : succulent » Through The Garden Gate

Aug 082014
Red-flowered succulents

Pendeen, Cornwall

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have become a little obsessed with succulents. So it’s no surprise that I fell for these plants (which I think are rocheas), on the windowsill at Dolphin Cottage in Cornwall. Apparently they were grown from cuttings purloined from (ahem) a local garden. I’ve now taken some too (with permission!) so we’ll see if they turn out as well as this…

Jun 112014


My love affair with succulents continues. I was happy with these little numbers in my conservatory even without their flowers, and then all of a sudden, they flowered. The one below has sprouted a stalk that’s about a foot long, from a tiny rosette. Another very similar-looking plant produced a completely different, star-shaped yellow flower.

I just love these little guys. As I’ve said before, the conditions in my conservatory are harsh – cold in winter and hot in summer. Many of the plants need watering every day at this time of year, but not so the succulents. Photographing them next to a watering can is a bit of a red herring, as they’re the ultimate drought-tolerant plant. They haven’t seen a drop of water for days. In fact I’ll confess that the plant below hasn’t been watered for months, hidden away at the bottom of a plant stand. I feel so guilty that I’m off to water it now.


Jun 022014
Succulents in a trough

Bradford on Avon

I’ve recently fallen hook, line and sinker for succulents. This is mostly because they are some of the most undemanding plants you can grow. They’ve pulled through a winter in my conservatory (unheated, so with some big extremes of temperature) and the benign neglect that I have bestowed upon them. In fact they’re even flowering now – proof that if you treat them mean, they become even more keen.

These aren’t my succulents (pic to come) but a container I walked past the other day. I liked it so much that I’m planning something similar. My neighbour and I have gone halves on three big plants that we can get tons of baby plants from – succulents are dead easy to propagate. I will bring you the results of our labours soon.


Apr 282013
Marylebone High Street

Marylebone High Street

The posh clothes shop, Toast, used to have a battered old (sorry, vintage) bench outside it, painted a lovely canal-boat green. The shop has now had a refit (although it looked fine before if you ask me), and the bench has gone.

It’s been replaced by this interesting set up: stacked breeze-block effect containers that have been painted black and filled with succulents. I like this look – it’s original, minimal and low maintenance (although someone or something has dislodged one of the plants) and the black background really makes the colours of the plants pop.


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Mar 102017


I haven’t blogged for ages – I have been very busy, writing a book on top of all of my other work commitments. And here it is: How Not To Kill Your Houseplant, published by Dorling Kindersley.

I’ve become more and more obsessed by houseplants recently – to me, a room feels empty without one. I’ve got masses of spider plants, succulents and parlour palms, a Boston fern, an asparagus fern, several parlour palms, a peace lily, a rubber plant, several streptocarpus, some unusual pileas, an air plant and my pride and joy, a tiny Pilea peperomiodes, given to me by a colleague. I’ve even managed to get an orchid to reflower, which is suprisingly easy.

This is quite a turnaround, as for years my Mum used to joke that many of my houseplants would leave the building ‘pot first’. I think I made that classic mistake of putting plants in a dusty corner, then forgetting and neglecting them and somehow expecting them to survive.

Nowadays, houseplants are back in vogue, especially among millennials. What I love about the new wave of young houseplant fans is that they are appreciating them, celebrating them and making them a key feature of their home. I now enjoy spending a few minutes every week checking my plants over, keeping an eye out for new leaves or flower buds (always exciting), and watering and feeding them if necessary (I never used to bother feeding them, and it makes such a difference).

Many people, including my Mum, say they don’t like houseplants – I’ve got one friend who says they give her the creeps. Mum says she had Swiss cheese plants, spider plants and macrame plant hangers in the 1970s, and she’s not going there again. Mind you, she did request three succulents for her kitchen windowsill for her birthday, so perhaps she’s changing her mind. Houseplants are everywhere now – I bought her the aforementioned succulents in the supermarket (at her request!) and my local garden centre is full of interesting new plants. And plant pots have come on in leaps and bounds too – all kinds of interesting containers are available, from bronze to concrete. It’s time to give houseplants another look.


Sep 192015

Wells, Somerset

Is it just me, or have hydrangeas looked especially good this year? They must have enjoyed the wet weather. I liked this line of them along a shady bank in the Bishop’s Palace garden in Wells.

I have a Hydrangea paniculata in my garden, which has flowered its socks off for weeks. The white flowers are now turning pink and I’m dead pleased I got it.

Aug 172015
Temenheere Scultpure Garden, Cornwall


My soggy holiday in Cornwall wasn’t all bad, and one of the highlights was Tremeheere Sculpture Garden. Set in a sheltered valley just outside Penzance, it has stunning views of St Michael’s Mount. The garden (which is more like a park, really – it’s pretty huge) it is home to ponds, bogs, woodland, sunny and arid areas and native woodland areas. Some of the planting is quite immature in places as it has only been open to the public since 2012, but it is definitely one to watch.


There were two standout pieces of sculpture: firstly, the ‘Restless Temple’ (above) by Penny Saunders, which is one of the first things you see as you approach. The columns have pendulums beneath them, allowing the pillars sway in  the wind, like a giant wind chime.

James Turrell sculpture at Tremenheere Sculpture Garden

The piece de resistance, though, has to be James Turrell’s ‘Skyspace’. An underground corridor leads to an elliptical chamber, whose ceiling frames the sky. We’d read nothing about it beforehand, and were totally blown away by it.

The Skyspace will also be joined by another impressive piece of work. As we left, I spotted some huge columns, each made of thousands of pieces of slate, lying on the grass. I thought they looked familar and have since confirmed that they are from Darren Hawkes’ gold-medal winning Brewin Dolphin garden at Chelsea 2015. They are being installed at Tremenheere, which seems like the ideal home for them – and will make the garden even more exciting.

Sep 252014
St Michael's Mount, Cornwall


It’s impossible not to fall for the charms of St Michael’s Mount – it looks atmospheric from afar, and romantic from within. The garden is ever so pretty, filled with exotic plants (the granite rock acts as a giant heat store) that can withstand salt-laden winds. Succulents abounded,which made me very happy – my favourites are below.

The garden is a tad precarious – the garden was crowded when we visited, and when there was a bottleneck on the paths, it wasn’t hard to imagine someone toppling off one of the terraces. While we were visiting, a woman had to be airlifted off the castle path by a Royal Navy helicopter – a private drama made public. Her rescue seemed to take ages, the helicopter whirring rather menacingly above our heads. It made me feel fortunate to be eating ice cream, admiring succulents and enjoying my holiday. I hope she was ok.