For Easter

Magnolias are astonishing. Such an abundance, every spring anew, fading away in the shortest time and leaving nothing but quite an unspectacular tree. However, magnolias have been the oldest known flowering plants, dating back millions of years, when there were no bees yet in existence but already butterflies fluttering around.

A symbol of the cycle of ephemerality and rebirth. Of resurrection and eternity.
Happy Easter.



This weekend, during a short roadtrip to the Swabian Jura. I not only marveled once more at how the bleeding heart, originating in China and brought to Europe by “my” botanist Robert Fortune around the middle of the nineteenth century, has become so typical for German cottage gardens.

I also thought about how this flower with its tiny tongues or flames (therefore sometimes also called flaming heart in German) corresponds with the spirit of Pentecost, for me the feast of inspiration and creativity, of a fresh wind and new beginnings. Especially this year, on the first pages of the next novel while brooding over new projects.

The power of creation, in every sense.


Small Wonders

Due to storm Xavier, I nearly missed my author reading of «The English Botanist» in the North of Germany last week. With luck and the help of my publisher and the bookstore, I nevertheless made it there (and back home) – and after quite an odyssey, I had one of the most wonderful author readings ever. A charming old lady in the audience even had something special for me: the seed pod of one of her camellias.


Tea, the Other Way Round

Roughly 170 years after Robert Fortune took up the tea’s trail in China, unlocked its secrets and established the tea of Darjeeling with smuggled seedlings, this story now takes the other way round.

In Cornwall, an English gardener has managed to cultivate Camellia sinensis, and the manufactured tea is exported as far as … China.

The British gardener who sells tea to China: CrowdScience – BBC World Service

A unique microclimate is helping Britain’s first tea plantation to thrive