Upcoming Events in the Horticultural World

At the beginning of a new year, especially given the weather of late, it gives us time to ponder what new treats await us in the coming growing season. In keeping with the new theme, the RHS is hosting a new flower show at Chatsworth House, this will run from 7th – 11th June. When combined with all the other flower shows the RHS is hosting, this makes for a very full horticultural calendar and allows the joy of gardening to reach an even bigger audience.

Bougainvillea growing over a fence

Another thing to contemplate this year is the Greening Grey Britain campaign, whilst not exactly new this is still nonetheless a crucial time to think about doing more with our gardens and community spaces. Given the hustle & bustle of everyday life these days and an ever increasing awareness and understanding of mental health issues, it has become apparent, now more so than ever before for people’s health and wellbeing to have regular access to green spaces. Coupled with the environmental benefit of greening grey spaces it is a win-win concept.

Containers including Petunias, Pelargoniums and Lobelias make an attractive display on a front driveway.

Whilst we look forward to another year of getting out in the garden it is also important to remember to enjoy being out in our parks and green spaces. Sometimes by having busy lives both in our working life and our personal life, it is difficult to find time to unwind, however it is crucial to do so for our own benefit. There is a great sense of contentment to be gained from spending time outdoors in the garden. So this year make the most of the fine weather and when things warm up, spend a little time enjoying being outdoors.

No matter how big or small our gardens, they can still pack an impressive array of plants, making an enjoyable outdoor space

Happy Cultural New Year 2017!

Wow! Can’t believe how the time has flown! After recovering from festive excesses, it’s time to look ahead to what is coming up in 2017. This year is an exciting year for new book releases! I have read some of the upcoming titles and they do not disappoint. As I am embargoed from reviewing them at the moment I shall give you a general idea which doesn’t stray much from the books’ blurb.

Firstly, in February we see the new Ruth Galloway book The Chalk Pit: The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 9 by Elly Griffiths. Here we see Ruth back with her archaeological hat on investigating some bodies found in Norwich’s Chalk Pits. (I had no idea Norwich had any Chalk pits until I read this book!). The sense of place in Elly’s writing is still strong here and as always, the excellent characterisation. We revisit the favourite old characters such as Cathbad, Judy and of course Nelson as well as some intriguing new ones. It is great to see Ruth and Nelson working together again too (the chemistry!). That’s all I’m saying for now, but it’s worth having a read of this if you follow the series and if you don’t then you should start with the first book The Crossing Places: The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 1

In March, we see a book that I predict is a strong Man Booker Prize contender The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge. This book is incredibly complex as it is a mystery within a mystery within a mystery! This really is a ‘Russian Matryoshka Doll’  kind of a story as it is so multi-layered. The main story is an investigation by Marina whose husband Charlie has gone missing. Charlie had been obsessed with a summer episode in the reclusive HP Lovecraft’s life when in 1934 he had spent two months with Robert Barlow (a gay teenage fan) in Florida. He wants to find out what they did during this time but during his investigations he disappears. The police believe that he killed himself but his wife does not. The story focuses on Marina’s quest to discover what happened to her husband and also leads her deep into her husband’s research for in order to find him, she needs to find out exactly what he was researching and had discovered.

The next book to look out for this year is He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly which is released in April. I have read all of Erin’s previous books and have enjoyed them all. She is a master of the intelligent thriller and He Said/She Said is a very well crafted tale. This book centres on three main characters Laura, Kit and Beth who are drawn together by an awful incident during the 1999 Eclipse in Cornwall. This incident forever binds the three of them together and the whole story centres on the notion of fundamental truth and trust. It has many twists which I did not see coming and I predict that this title will do very well.

Quieter Than Killing (D.I. Marnie Rome 4) released in February is the fourth title in the D.I Marnie Rome series by Sarah Hilary. This book sees Marnie and DS Noah Jake investigate a series of assaults in London that at first appear to be random. However, Marnie realises that the assaults are personal when her family home is burgled possibly by a child who knows all about her past. This leads her into a personal examination of her troubled past to try to solve the present case. Sarah Hilary is great at characterisation and you feel that the characters are well drawn and realistic. She also brings in important social issues a lot of the time too such as domestic violence which features in her first Marnie Rome book Someone Else’s Skin (D.I. Marnie Rome 1): Winner of the Crime Novel of the Year and is the one you should start the series with.

Also coming out in May is the new title from Haruki Murakami called Men Without Women: Stories which will be his first short story collection in a decade! This is only scratching the surface of a few titles to look out for there are many more interesting titles that I hope to cover during 2017.