Media has changed dramatically in recent years, we’re inundated with news of the world and images of the lives of people we don’t know promoting lifestyles that are unattainable for most of us. This can lead to a slump in self-worth but nevertheless an irresistible urge to keep looking at the unrelenting sea of information. Social media is unavoidable today; some of you may be reading this through a social media app, and undoubtably a high percentage of you will have one or more accounts with a platform or two. It is said that on average users worldwide spend over two hours a day on social media; this will continue to be an upward trend and communicating this way has become the norm for many. Whatever anyone thinks about social media, it is here to stay. There has been much written about the negative effects, fear of missing out, peer pressure, trolling and spread of misinformation to name a few, and while these effects are undeniable, I think that social media can be a place of inspiration and discovery. (more…)
Towards the end of June I went to France for a two week holiday; it was beautiful with diverse landscape, plant life and wildlife causing me to spend large amounts of time tip toeing through meadows looking at the ground in the early evenings. It was also very hot. It was the hottest recorded temperature in France and was a struggle to do very much at all during the day. I found the heat intimidating particularly with the growing realisation with nearly everyone, that these temperatures are going to become the norm. Experiencing the high temperatures that we did was a real wake up call and not a little scary. A few degrees higher and it would have been impossible to even go outside let alone the slow trudging that we did manage before finding some way to stop our blood rising above 37 degrees. (more…)
This week the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day was observed in Northern France by veterans, world leaders and politicians. Even though the second world war was so long ago, its echoes still reverberate. The operation needed 156,000 troops with 73,000 from the US. So, in the lead up to the invasion, thousands of American GIs were stationed across the South West and many throughout the areas of Bristol. (more…)
How did it get to be May already? It seems a very short time ago that we were looking at the low sun and listening to the lone robins sing, bare earth and branches waiting for a temperature hike. Well, the Garden has plumped up with leaves and life, almost fluorescent in its vibrancy. It’s a wonderful time of year, even when it rains you can almost see the plants growing.
While the rain is soaking into the May soil, it also threatens the flowers of one group of plants in our Chinese Herb Garden. This year we have completed our peony garden, a unique display here in the west country, and on Sunday 12th May we’re holding a day dedicated to peonies in celebration. One thing we’d like for people to see in this area is of course the flowers of peonies, and the weather was doing its best to rain on our peony parade. So we decided to pamper these plants with an umbrella each. It might seem over the top, but it’s a treatment that some of them are accustomed to. In days gone by the gansu mudan peony has led a life of privilege; ancient China knew it as the Emperor’s flower and law decreed that it was only grown in his gardens. Specialist growers were tasked with cultivating it for use in the imperial borders, but if anyone got ideas above their station and sneaked some in their own garden, well, they were executed! So some of these peony flowers have the air of ‘an umbrella is no more than I deserve’.