Author Archives: Sophie

About Sophie

Qui suis-je? Who am I? Wer bin Ich? A biologist crazy about everything that lives on earth, under water and in the air. Loving plants, gardening, music, diving and travelling. Currently rescuing threatened garden plants at Plant Heritage (NCCPG).

An island of flowers – Part 5: Monte Tropical Gardens

As promised in my previous post, this is a visit to a nearby but completely different place, the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens. Located slightly higher (600m above sea level), the Monte hills can be reached by an impressive cable car overlooking laurel forest: … Continue reading

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An island of flowers – Part 4: Madeira Botanical garden

Reached by a short drive from the centre of Funchal, the Jardim Botanico, located 300m above sea level is a relatively recent botanic garden (opened in 1960), but full of surprises. We start our visit by the spectacular Succulents zone, with … Continue reading

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An island of flowers – Part 3: the quintas of Funchal

As this article explains quite well, the simplest definition of a Portuguese quinta is that of a countryside estate with a large house, surrounded by orchards and gardens. Many quintas have been swallowed by developments and incorporated into the urban mesh of Funchal, but … Continue reading

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An island of flowers – Part 2: the parks of Funchal

As you’ve discovered in my previous post, the flora of Madeira, in particular its capital city Funchal is very diverse. This is reflected in the numerous parks scattered in the city, and the most famous example is probably the Jardim … Continue reading

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An island of flowers – Part 1: the streets of Funchal

This is the first post in a long series on the island of Madeira, where I went on holiday last month. With stunning landscapes and very interesting flora, I’m sure you will enjoy the trip! Located approximately 500 km off … Continue reading

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From industrial site to contemporary garden

If you live in the UK, and/or like garden and plants in general, you can not have missed this week’s big event: the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show. Temple of gardening overindulgence, shrine to bizarre landscaping trends, and showcase of … Continue reading

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A botanical walk with no frontiers

As some of you will know, I was born in North East France, very close to Luxembourg and Germany, in a region known as “The Land of the Three Borders“. Two years ago, I had introduced you to the orchid-rich … Continue reading

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An oasis of wilderness

Green spaces are prized treasures in the brick and concrete jungle of cities. Yet, according to a report commissioned in 2013, London is the greenest city in Europe, with about 40% of its surface made of public green space: Of course most people will … Continue reading

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When plants glow

A fascinating and relatively unknown topic that I chose to study for my BSc, iridescence is, in its simplest definition, an “optical phenomenon in which hue changes according to the viewing angle”. The most obvious example is a soap bubble, but it is … Continue reading

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Paper, paste, plants and patience

A mysterious title for a not so mysterious activity…about a month ago, I took part in an Herbarium Workshop organised by the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI). While I had realised an herbarium before (including one for my BSc with 100 … Continue reading

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