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Showing posts from January, 2014

An interview with Mark Bolton: photographer, traveller, cider-lover and allotment dweller

It was nearly a year ago when I first emailed professional photographer Mark Bolton about an interview. He’s a busy man. However, last week our schedules finally meshed and we got to chat on the phone about his lifelong passion for photography, his love of gardens and his long-time connection with the Botanic Garden.
Of course, before I spoke with Mark, I had a thorough look at his website (, trying to glean as many details about him as possible so as not to waste too much of his time. There is, as one would expect, an outstanding portfolio of his commercial photography – extravagant hotel interiors, delicious food, immaculate homes and exquisite gardens. However, it is the images under his “personal” tab that have me intrigued and perhaps provide a glimpse into the man behind the camera – a traveller, a cider-lover, and a gardener. There are images of frequent visits to East Prawle that spark a thousand questions in my mind: I want to know the lady in…

A Sicilian Grand Tour

By Helen RobertsIt was a distinctly overcast, grey, cold and rainy day last November in Bristol when I went to see Nick Wray, curator of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, give a talk. I, like most people, was definitely feeling the lack of sunshine, but Nick’s talk on Sicilian landscapes certainly helped blow away the winter blues and had me looking forward to (hopefully) another blistering summer.
The Botanic Garden’s interest in SicilyNick has been working with a Sicilian horticulture colleague, Sergio Cumitini, for the last 5 years to establish a joint acclimatization project. The project has involved growing Mediterranean plants in the UK at various sites including Bristol’s Botanic Garden, RHS gardens and Tresco Abbey Garden on the Isles of Scilly. It was through this work that Nick became fascinated with the plants and landscapes of Sicily. His fascination led to a plant and garden tour to the island in spring 2013, which involved an introduction to the gardens, archite…