botanic Oxbridge

I am a medievalist.  I spent my academic career teaching medieval literature, especially the Middle English literature of the 14th century, and its appropriation for a vast array of artistic, social, and commercial causes by the 19th, 20th, and 21stcenturies.  I like Oxford.  Its spires, narrow streets, and granite and limestone walls feel familiar, warm, …

gardens small and big: part 2

Although Holehird Gardens in Windermere, Cumbria, enjoys a healthy reputation in Britain (it holds four national collections: Astilbe, Polystichum, Daboecia, and Meconopsis), had Cindy Ravenhall not mentioned it to me in a casual conversation about her flourishing front yard garden, I would have left the Lake District with associations only of Beatrix Potter, Wordsworth, and …