Tickets for members who have booked for early entry to RHS Chelsea will be sent out by email on Monday 9 or Tuesday 10 May. The image – which you can enlarge by clicking on it – shows a display by Jacques Amand, our sponsors for this special opportunity. Thank you to Jacques Amand for their support and to John Fielding for the image.
International events restart
MPG’s first international expedition after Covid lockdowns starts today, Monday 2 May, with our member Goffredo Filibeck leading a botanising and walking trip in southern Tuscany. Planned more than six months before, the number of participants was limited to 16 due to lack of certainty about what regulations of local transport and restaurant seating would be. The most recent exotic event before this was in Israel in February and March 2020. In 2021 there were two residential garden tours in the UK, the first in Yorkshire followed by one in south-west Wales.
Private garden in western Sicily
This Sicilian villa is at the heart of a productive olive estate. MPG member Alison Richards has recently restored garden areas, shown here looking gorgeous with a mass of Salvia officinalis in the foreground, a flavour of the reinvigorated Mediterranean plantings throughout. The Oxford Botanic Garden and the villa will have a mutually useful involvement as the development of the garden continues. This is a stunning area of Sicily with old windmills and salt flats beside the sea below.
Mediterranean flowers, islands and France
Guest speaker Michael Myers this week gave an illustrated talk on Zoom about Mediterranean wild flowers. He talked mainly about Crete, his favourite island, and also about Corfu, Cyprus and the lower slopes of the mountains of the Alpes Maritimes behind Nice in the south of France. The image shows Ophrys lutea growing amongst Ranunculus asiatica. The audience included members in Greece, Italy, New York, southern California, France, Belgium and the UK. The recording and video of the talk may now be viewed by clicking on this link.
First westerner to see massive rare plant
Few people in the world and nobody from the west had seen the extremely rare Rafflesia banaoana with its huge flower until Chris Thorogood fought his way through Philippine jungle last month. Author of many botany books and plant guides, he is an authority on the Mediterranean with his Field Guide to Flowers of the Western Mediterranean, Field Guide to Flowers of the Eastern Mediterranean and Wild Flowers of the Algarve. He is also an excellent botanical artist. His latest book, When Plants Took Over the Planet, is aimed at 7- to 11-year-olds. Chris, head of science and deputy director of the Oxford Botanic Garden, welcomed MPG members enthusiastically at the start of last summer’s visit to Oxford.
Mona and her Corokia
MPG member Mona Abboud holds the National Collection of Corokia and is featured in the March issue of the RHS’s magazine, The Garden, discussing the joys of her garden in the winter season. The article cites the combination of northern and southern hemisphere plants with rarities to create a garden that looks good in all seasons.