Trip to Tokyo

We started 2017 with a trip to Tokyo

Our Koi Pond

Regular readers will have followed the progress of our Koi Bond build, heres the finished result

Singapore Botanic Garden

Whilst in Singapore we visited the botanic gardens, a fantastic explosion of tropical and exotic plants.

Colourful pots

The summer of 2016 saw the addition of a number of colourful pots tp the top patio

Phoenix from the Flames

After the fire came rebuilding and our new Jungle Hut is better than ever!

Thursday, February 08, 2018


Not usually into posting about the plantings on hotel grounds and resorts (bar exceptional ones like those found in Madeiran and Cornish hotels) as they tend to be formulaic and regimented. But going through our photos on our recent trip to Vietnam I couldn't help but long to be transported back to where we stayed, especially seeing once again the lush tropical planting they had there.

View from our balcony
The planting on the grounds are nothing unusual and exceptional, just the usual suspects and categorically belongs to the 'formulaic and regimented', but very nice nevertheless. Especially looking at them now whilst we're in the middle of a cold spell (not unusual for early February here).

And the view as you step out on to the pathways leading on to other areas
Quintessentially tropical, the coconut palm!

The grounds were maintained to a high standard and it was nice to see new plants about to be incorporated into the landscape. Beautiful things!

These tropical plants needs constant pruning of course but can't help but smile at the thought of getting some refreshments as you trim those coconut palms! And amongst these garden trimmings, a basket of more plants to go in.

Seeing these photos has reminded me also why we're into tropical and exotic looking create that illusion our garden is somewhere warmer and enhance the sense of escapism.

Ahh the warmer months, can't wait for their arrival!

Mark :-) 

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

A Little Taste of Vietnam

Almost a couple of weeks ago we had a break from the cold British winter by going on a mini break to the city of Nha Trang in Vietnam.

We've always been curious about tourism in Vietnam so decided to have a little taste of this country by spending some time in one of their more curious and fast urbanising cities.

Lonely Planet describes Nha Trang as 'loud and proud' and loud and proud it certainly is. The main attraction of the city is a stretch of fine golden sand beach that is 6 kilometers long that is mostly flanked to one side with rows and rows of tall buildings and sky scrapers. As far as we are aware of, they are trying to model the development of the city with that of Gold Coast in Australia and Miami (although the Spanish coastal city of Benidorm also crossed our minds). So in short, Nha Trang city is a bustling, fast growing metropolis with a beautiful beach.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Garden in Early February

The UK has a bit of a cold spell at the moment, although fortunately not too cold - about 3C this morning. Despite the cold it was a bright day in the garden to I took advantage and went out with the camera.

Blue sky almost makes it feel like spring is here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Weekend in Stockholm

With Christmas just around the corner we decided to start embracing it. And what better way than to visit one of those cities that looks extra charming in the run up to the festive season - Stockholm.

We first visited this charming city twelve years ago, Scandinavia's biggest city, so fairly familiar with the area. And superficially it seemed that very little has changed since then which made it easier for us to navigate on a rather impromptu visit.

With only the weekend to spend there, we opted to concentrate on the old town - Gamla Stan - browsing the quaint shops along the cobbled roads and visiting the Royal Palace which we didn't get to do back in 2005. And if we had spare time, which was the case, also include a browse on their modern shopping district adjacent to the old town.

First and foremost, a look at the very pretty Gamla Stan, with its winding and cobbled narrow streets lined with craft (and souvenir) shops, coffee shops, and restaurants...

Stockholm is composed of fourteen islands connected with over fifty bridges like this one

Gamla Stan is well known for having mostly ochre tone buildings

The cobbled streets are lined with both charming craft and tacky souvenir shops. This one is an example of the former.

Scandinavians seems to have the knack for creating beautiful window displays so effortlessly
And within Gamla Stan is the Kungliga Slottet Royal Palace which is worth a few hours visit when you're in the area.

Changing of the guards ceremony?
And since the more modern shopping district is just adjacent to the old town Gamla Stan we also had a good browse in the area, picking up a gift or two in preparation for Christmas.

Stockholm has so much more to offer than just shopping and dining of course and you can easily spend many days there with a myriad of activities and sights to see. It is one of the coolest cities in Europe and laden with great vibes and culture.

A little word of warning though, as with all Scandinavian cities prices of food, services, and other consumer items can be exceptionally high. So plan and budget carefully before you start your day. Just to give you an idea, two tiny cakes and small coffees as seen below in an independent coffee shop has cost us a £28 (US$37). Of course some places are more reasonably priced than others but the lowest levels we've seen are akin to Central London prices (which are already high as it is). So look around and compare first before you commit and flash the cash.

Mark :-)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Danger Garden Revisited!

We were fortunate enough to join the Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland in 2014 and part of it's itinerary was a visit to the famous Danger Garden. Fast forward to just over three years later we were fortunate once again to see it in the flesh last September.

And it was looking great as always, if not better as it evolved and matured further since our last visit.

Now let's start at the front:

And now to the side...

On to the even more glorious back garden...

Loree from Danger Garden, Gerhard from Succulents and More and Gaz hiding in the background.

We love the grill on the wall, simple but very effective.

I've opted to let the photos do most of the talking but if you have any questions especially with plant identification then feel free to ask, hopefully I'll know the answer.

Beautiful and inspiring isn't it? 


Sunday, July 02, 2017

Our Garden in Gardeners' World Magazine

Exotic Gardening takes centre stage in this months edition of Gardeners' World magazine, which includes a six page feature of our garden.

The article contains several garden photos and an interview with us by Annie Gatti. Preview of the article is seen above.
Cover of July 2017 edition

Together with our garden feature are other articles focusing on Exotic Gardening like Tough Tropicals amongst others.

Preview on the June 2017 edition

If you do get the chance grab a copy for a further insight into our garden. Gardeners World gives some tips and relevant advice on adding a touch of exotica into your garden, or perhaps turning your entire garden into one like we did!

Mark :-)