When the blackberries hang

swollen in the woods, in the brambles

nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high

branches, reaching

my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming

the black honey of summer

into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark

creeks that run by there is

this thick p of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is

this happy tongue.

Mary Olivier “August”

Life and art


I hadn’t seen this Ravilious piece (The Carnation House) before, although I knew some of his other greenhouse paintings


…and then a few days after seeing a picture of it I ended up in a similar scene at the Birmingham botanic gardens


which also had these splendid cacti and a troupe of peacocks. Life imitating art, June 2019.

Open garden weekend


In June every year, London gardens open that are usually closed – followed by new builds and government portals in mid September for open house weekend. This was outside my usual realm in east London, and a pretty railed square tucked just around the corner from this flower stall and statue. Pimms and cupcakes were on sale as children ran round the beds and headed for swings.

Hilton Carter


I recently came across Hilton Carter in the most annoying way – by missing his talk at the Garden Museum. Not only did he launch his gardening book “Wild at heart” in this gorgeous greenhouse in Baltimore:


he’s also into fiddle leaf figs, which is music to a hipster like me. Check out his Instagram for more useful tips and gardening hints.



Dawn and still waters in Kerala


Midday sun on the boat trip


Monkeys at tea


Sunset and dusk


Rajahs and immaculate rooms to stay in


A world apart from the hustle and return of real life. Magical days in March 19.