In the gardens of East Dean, West Sussex there lies an old fruit drying house. Even to this day East Dean's fruit from it's collection of 100 apple varieties and 45 pear species are stored here. When I stumbled upon them they were like precious jews glowing in very centre of the cold, grey afternoon, full of last Summer's sun, wind and sky.
The Cardoon is a relative of the artichoke. Both come from very dry areas of Africa and the Mediterranean. They are perfect if you have a big border and want a focal point. All summer their craggy silver leaves spread out up to 70cm each way. They like a lot of space and sun and recently I planted two with Japanese Red grasses around the base which complimented their grey foliage. By the end of summer beautiful spires flower with purple thistle-like blooms. Even before the first frosts their foliage starts to whither. Many gardeners still leave the dried flower [...]
This group of Arum berries from the arum lilly are often seen as weeds but around the foot of an old tree what could be more exotic. Originally they were from Africa but have been in the UK since the 1650s.