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Well – that’s what you call a lengthy spell out of the country.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on aeroplanes in the last few weeks – some of it planned, some unplanned (or at least, planned at the last minute). The result was, I just disappeared over the horizon for the whole of April. Sorry about that, but I’m afraid not only am I back – I’m back with holiday snaps…!!

It wasn’t all holiday – the first bit was what has to be said was really quite a swanky press trip. I had all of a week’s notice and then found myself rather unexpectedly on a plane to Grenada, in the Caribbean. As well as some other journalists and a PR lady, all of whom turned out to be quite delightfully good company, we had the equally lovely Suzanne Gaywood with us – she’s the lady who creates that vividly colourful exhibit of tropical flowers for Grenada every year at Chelsea, and the reason for my being there. About which – more later (a lot more).

Then I came back and spent a few days unpacking, washing and packing again in between trying to do some sensible work, then went to a different airport, this time with my family, and jetted off to Florida for a couple of weeks. Not so many gardens this time – there are some fabulous gardens in Florida but most of them were over the other side – but lots of wierd and wonderful plants in their native habitats, as I went to the Everglades. About which… you get the gist.

So I’ve turned all tropical just lately and my plant vocabulary has expanded by several dozen palms, a few exotic flower species and a swamp plant or three. I came back thinking two things: a) why do we bother with tropical plants – whatever we can persuade to grow is a shadow of what they’re really like, and
b) why have we concreted over our little island? This after returning from Grenada, which is a properly green and pleasant land. Ours is mostly grey these days, and all the leaves are small.

Don’t worry, I’ll get over it. I already have to some extent as I returned to a garden full of tulips and forget-me-nots, and who couldn’t fall in love all over again with such prettiness.

So that’s my carbon emissions sorted for the next six decades. Lucky for the future of the planet that these chances don’t come along very often – in fact these two flights have been the first time I’ve been on a plane at all in nearly 10 years. Last time, too – it’s holidays in Bognor all the way…

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