Agave americana 'Variegata'
Agave americana ‘Variegata’


In keeping within this week’s parameters of memories, there is a beautiful, even poetic term used in horticulture. Called ‘ghosting’, it refers to the impressions and markings left on the new succulent leaves, specifically agave, which occurs from the foliage being tightly pressed together as it grows, only revealing itself as the leaves unfurl from the plant, and with time eventually disappears. – James

Agave americana 'Variegata"



next stop, Atocha


In the modern age of travel, where speed and efficiency is a necessity, it is far and few between that a large public transportation hub beckons you with its beauty to stay and linger for a while. Sure, there are some beauties such as Grand Central Station that offer up visual delights in its main hall, but this place, Atocha Station, breaks all the normal rules of a train station. Rather than rushing through, governed by the need to reach your final destination, this station offers the chance to slow down and disconnect from the surrounding hustle and bustle, amidst a true urban jungle.


Atocha station is the largest operator of trains in Madrid, and due to the capital city’s central location , it is responsible for connecting some of the major cities throughout Spain. By way of high-speed trains, it is credited with getting commuters to and from places throughout the country, such as Seville, Zaragazova, and Barcelona and Valencia, the second and third largest cities respectively.


The original station was declared open during the winter of 1851 but forty years later it was destroyed by fire, rebuilt again by a man named Alberto de Palacio Elissagne.  Fast forward to 1992, and the Atocha terminal saw itself undergoing a new renovation project, the installation of an indoor tropical garden that sits within the main concourse, of an expansive size of 4,0000 square meters (13, 123 sq.ft).

Living amidst the hustle are plants like the Sabal palmetto
some plants offer the passing public a sheltered refuge, on the right is Ravenala madagascariensis (also known as the Traveler’s Palm, ironic?)

IMG_5949 Overhead, glass skylights provide enough sufficient light to help over 7,000 plants tropical plants (and a fully stocked turtle pond) grow and live within this mesmerizing lush urban space.  -James


Heat hot humidity wet: beating transpiration


In a glasshous,e plants need  to be watered regularly but it also helps them thrive by supplying more humid conditions. When the air is moist, less water is lost from the leaf through transpiration. Keep your plants in good condition during the warmer months and add humidity by wetting down the floor of  your glasshouse.            -JamesIMG_1910

Noting notes

Myosotis sylvatica
Myosotis sylvatica*

Don’t forget to take notes, it is important to document your successes and failures including ideas you might want to improve upon for next year in the garden, such as combinations, quantity of plants, or spacing issues.  We  noticed here in our garden, Gravetye Manor, that we need to plant more Tulipa turkestanica among our dark purple flowering Helleborus orientalis for a much stronger visual impact.

Equally important, jot down what you see when viewing exhibitions when visiting museums and galleries. It is easier to cross-reference the ideas that interest you, such as artists, movements and periods, which can always be further researched later on.  Saving your tickets in these books is a way to easily note where you have been, what you have seen and when, since they already have the museum, date, and exhibition name included on it. -James

*Don't forget your notebook.
*Don’t forget your notebook.