‘I love twigs’: botanical painter Emma Tennant interviewed

Hermitage, where the heel of Roxburghshire kicks into the once-lawless Debatable Lands, seems an unlikely place to find a botanical artist. It’s hard to make anything grow here, let alone an exhibition-load of rare and sometimes exotic plants. Lorded over by Hermitage Castle, a menacing hulk of medieval brutalism described by George MacDonald Fraser as ‘shouting “sod off” in stone’, this is a remote, rarely visited stretch of the border. Once the playground of reivers, and the graveyard of their victims, today it’s a land of sheep farming, forestry plantations and cruel May frosts. But there, hunkered against the wind in the foot of the Hermitage valley, is the studio

After Covid, Kenya’s flower industry is gearing up for its next challenge

The alpine slopes of Kenya’s extinct volcanoes are the floral equivalent of Bordeaux. It’s there that the roses grow for the world’s weddings, funerals and Valentine’s Day bouquets. The higher the altitude, the larger your flower head, and roses raised in the shadow of Mount Kenya’s glaciers, or on the vast caldera of Mount Elgon, come in a dazzling spectrum of colours, petal shapes and scents. In normal years, billions of blooms fly out of Nairobi, destined for everywhere from Shanghai and Riyadh to Melbourne and Slough. But in 2020, the roses bloomed in vain. The world’s skies emptied of aircraft in March 2020, and Kenya’s rose growers threw away