Shipka from Pakistan working on salinity problems in rice is ever the serious man, but with a very dry sense of humour.

Carla, here celebrating her birthday is the sunshine in the lab, teaching everbody Italian while we all teach her our languages. She is a great Shrek fan.

See what happens when you leave your camera lying around, Carlos (photo taken by Beack at the Milenium Seed Bank) here puts on his best pose for a new dating site.


My cousin Vanessa with her two children, Michael and Jodi.

Part of the trail I rode to Gwithian one day, the water in some parts because of all the rain was several feet deep.

Great sculptures made from from rubber boots, forgot what they are called but they have created quite a controversy because of their cost, about thirty thousand pounds. But then again public art should be controversial.

The view out towards Brea Vilage (I was born on the hill (in a house)) on the right side of the picture.

Gwithian lighthouse, nowdays automatic as all lighthouses are in England.

You can see grey seals (endangered species) on the beach, they come here every year to bathe, rest and calve since they cannot be disturbed as the beach is impossible to get to.
Aunt Connie.

As you can see I have come by my gardening skills through genetics, on my mothers side of the family although my grandfather on my fathers side was also a great gardener and a flower show judge. Aunt Connie now has a Bletelia from Kew growing in her garden.

Looking back towards the kitchen, the house is part of a row ofold miners cottages

Notice the chimney stack in the very left foreground of the above, there was once an old mining foundry operating next door which the stone wall hides.
Around Cornwall.

This is the view from the front yard of the first school I went to. It is now part of a world heritage site celebarting Cornwalls mining heritage.
My older brother and I used to walk to and from school along this road, we were always terrified of meeting a car as there was no where to go except up the hedge, which can seem mighty high when you are only six years old.
From the top of Carn Brea, with the castle in the background and Redruth off in the distance, taken while standing in the Cup and Saucer, pictured below.

The Cup and Saucer, a rock as kids we would climb into and sit.
Carn Brea Monument, to the Basset family, the local gentry.

View from the Carn towards Pool and Camborne.

My first school: Peace School.
An old, restored pumping engine, to keep the mines free from water, at Pool.

Part of the piston,the arm (green) is 52 tons, this is owned by the National Trust and they are considering restoring it to working condition.

The actual piston itself.

From the outside, this engine house unlike the one at Pool was used to lift the miners and ore to and from the mine shafts.

Carn Brea castle.
The Lizzard.

This is the most southerly point in England, looking back towards the village: Lizzard.

The rock is quite unique here and is used locally for crafts, it is called serpentine.

Part of the coastal path system, you however cannot get to the ocean except at a few spots. This being one of them. If you look carefully, you can see the reamins of a WWII machine gun placment facing towards the ocean where a river cuts through the cliff.

The Lizzard is home to many rare and endangered plant and animal species. Above, Jasione montana.

Silene maritima growing on rocks, not that rare.

Kynace Cove, a popular spot at low tide for its sandy beach.

Rare, Erica vagans only grows on the the Lizzard.
Portreath, Cornwall

This was one of the beaches we used to visit when we were kids, today a popular tourist destination.
The harbour was once used to bring in coal from Wales to fuel the large boilers that ran the engine houses (see later blog) on the mines.
Nymans Gardens

Nymans is quite an interesting garden connected with many of the great plant collectors. Today owned by the National Trust it has extensive collections of Asian flora and is a garden I shall return again to photograph many of the plants (half hour drive from the house).
The dovecote on the the remaining side of the house that was not burnt during the fire.
The remains of the original house were never re-built by the family, although half of the house was saved and was still used by the extended family.
Leonard Messel ws one of the owners of Nymans, you may recognise his name in Canada attached to Magnolia 'Leonard Messel' which was bred here.

Part of the conifer collection.

For more details on Nymans visit:




Out and about.

Everyone look at the camera and say sheep. Shearing time on the downs.

Above and below is a Chattery, a memorial to Sikh and Hindu soldiers whose bodies were cremated on this spot during the second world war. The soldiers came to Brighton for treatment and those who died were cremated just outside the town in the hills.

Fields of wheat in what was my last plant collecting trip on the downs on Thursday.
Sailing last week, Stephen at the helm, leading the pack in the last race.


Friends at Wakehurst

On Thursday Wakehurst sold off some of their surplus plants to employees, I could not resist although most will be going down to Cornwall for my aunts gardens. The large tomato however will sit on the back steps in Brighton.

Above Lindsay and Rose caught up in the chaos of the sale. Lindsay is a Canadian working at the seed bank, when the two of us get together we have been accused of being noisy since we laugh and joke a lot (just being Canadian). Rose is a researcher from South Africa working on Galanthus and puts up with us, more Lindsay than me since she works closely with her, with good humour. In the background is Tom, a graduate of the plant conservation program at Sussex and now working on his PhD at the seed bank.


A lunch visitor looking for a handout. He is a bit disappointed.