Backyard BOTANY

  • Six botanical paintings of pteridophytes.

    Seeing the artist’s way

    One of the (many) things I love about botany (in particular plant taxonomy – the naming and classifying plants) is that of all branches of science, it is perhaps the one where art and science, [...]

Our garden

  • Reflections on Monty Don’s Paradise Gardens. I greatly enjoyed the first episode of the new BBC series Monty Don’s Paradise Gardens, charting the history, design and symbolism of the beautiful and tranquil Islamic garden style. [...]

The plants we grow

  • A surprisingly hardy plant from southeast Asia. Aeschynanthus: tropical ‘lipstick plants’ A number of years ago I worked in the Southeast Asia section at Kew Gardens, and took part in several field trips to Borneo. [...]
  • A marginal pond plant from North America, with pretty red fruits and autumn foliage. Penthorum sedoides is a perennial herb native to the eastern United States where it grows in wet soils or shallow water [...]
  • A hardy, tropical climber from South America Plant collecting in Rio On the 14th November 1768, 79 days after the Endeavour set sail from Plymouth on Captain Cook’s first voyage around the world (the story [...]
  • Anemopsis californica

    An ancient and unusual plant from North America The flowers of this unusual aquatic plant, which seems to have become more popular in cultivation in recent years, are held in an inflorescence (flower head) that [...]
  • Borderline-hardy beauties from South America The sky is grey, the leaves have mostly fallen and the temperature is dropping, but one plant is currently bringing a splash of tropical colour to the garden:  Tibouchina urvilleana [...]

Botanists’ Backyards

  • Botanists’ gardens: Maarten Christenhusz

    Join me for a tour of the private London garden of botanist Maarten Christenhusz Botanists gardens What is it about some gardens that makes them particularly special and memorable? A sophisticated or original colour combination? [...]

Garden History

  • Captain Cook’s first voyage. Exactly 250 years ago today, on August 26th 1768, the Endeavour departed from Plymouth on Captain Cook’s first voyage around the world, with the botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on [...]
  • The story of how the Mughal gardens were born in Uzbekistan. In his recent TV series Monty Don’s Paradise Gardens, Monty showed us the great Islamic gardens of Iran, Spain, Turkey and India, but you may [...]
  • Livia’s Garden Fresco Last summer, Rob and I were on a mini-break in Rome with my parents. On the last day, we arrived at the station far too early for our train back to the [...]


  • Why I prefer to grow exotic plants rather than just native species. In an article in this month’s Gardener’s World magazine, Monty Don argues that gardeners should grow more native plants, rather than non-native ‘alien [...]


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My name is Jonathan Gregson and I’m an enthusiastic plantsman and all-round plantaholic.

I live with my husband Rob in Camberwell, south London, where we grow plants from over 140 different families in our garden, pushing the boundaries to discover what botanical wonders we can get away with growing in London.

This blog aims to document the development of our mini ‘backyard botanic garden’, the stories behind some of the plants that grow here, the occasional visit to other gardens, as well as general musings on gardening and botany.

I’m also a qualified gardener and garden designer, offering garden design, landscaping, and horticultural services in London.

Please feel free to email me for more information about the horticultural services I offer, and follow me on Facebook for photographs of some of the gardens I have created.

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