About John Shoane

John studied in Thailand and now lives together with his wife in Bangkok. He designs flower arangments for Bangkok flower delivery company also servicing the whole of Thailand

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are having a baby!

The news is official. Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry, is pregnant. Harry is said to be delighted, the Queen is said to be very happy, and Meghan is apparently over the moon.

Everybody loves a Royal baby. Of course everybody loves a bit of gossip too and tongues are wagging as to exactly when Meghan fell pregnant. Her wedding to Harry seems like it was just the other day.

In fact, Meghan and Harry got married on the 19th of May, which was already five months ago. And given the baby is due in the Spring of 2019, there is no scandal at all.

Good wishes have been coming in from all over the world and their Royal Highness the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have said how much they appreciate all the support they have received since the time of their wedding, and now for their pregnancy.

Meghan apparently told the Queen the news at Princess Eugenies wedding on Friday. There were celebrations all round.

Meghans mom, Doria Ragland, who the world fell in love with at the Royal Wedding, is also said to be looking forward to welcoming her very first grandchild and there is some speculation that she will move to London to help the couple.

This would be pretty unprecedented. Usually royalty are assigned staff and nannies to look after their children, but it seems Meghan Markle wants to look after her own baby, with the help of her mom.

Right now Meghan and Harry are in Australia, at the beginning of a two week tour that will include Australia, New eland, Fiji and Tonga. Meghan looks good and does not look like she has a baby bump yet, but of course we do not know what those royal coats could be hiding. She has been dressing pretty conservatively over the last few weeks and that may be about the pregnancy and not about her new Royal position.

There is already a ton of speculation over the gender of the new baby to be, the names that could be used - Charles, Andrew, Grace, William, Harry, Elizabeth - and the actual birth date.

Given that Meghan Markle has pretty much played by her own rules so far, we imagine she will continue to do that. She will do it with the help and support of Prince Harry, who it is clear loves and adores her.

We could not think of a more adorable couple, soon to be parents. They are both kind, compassionate and considered, gentle human beings and it is no doubt that they will make a great mom and dad. Anyone who saw Meghans mom at the wedding, and her genuine emotion for her daughter, knows what a great bond they have, and how important family is to them.

We also congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on this fantastic news and wish them safe travels and a safe and healthy pregnancy.

New Zealand Flower and Garden Show, 28 Nov to 02 Dec 2018

The New Zealand Flower and Garden Show will take place in Auckland at the end of November and the count down has begun. This is only the second ever New Zealand Flower and Garden Show but last year it was called The Greatest Show on Earth.And it really was incredible, beautiful, flower filled and divine.

People loved it and even the organisers were astounded by the success. The show was attended by flower enthusiasts, garden lovers, landscapers, anyone with a green thumb, and also, home and art lovers. It was unbelievably successful, so much so that they had no choice but to run another one.

This years show in Auckland, at the Trust Arena, and it takes place over five days. It will again be a floral and horticultural spectacular, featuring floral art installations and displays, the FLONZI Apprentice of the Year competition, a food demo zone, an arts and sculpture showcase, the Yates Community Gardening Zone, and a food court and food demo area too. Its all about smells and scents, colours and bouquets, art and beauty, rolled into one.

Its also about business - meeting buyers and sellers - learning new ideas and seeing fabulous new things.

We have been promised that this year will be filled with lots of new and innovative products, amazing designs, modern horticulture design and of course, stunning flowers.

The dates of the show are from 28 November to 02 December inclusive, and from 10am to 6 pm daily. Visitors will be coming from all over New Zealand and Australia, and hopefully from nearby International countries too. There will be tons to see, not just floral, but also decor and art. Its a great place for aspiring young gardeners to visit and there will be activities for the kids too.

New Zealand, with its pretty wet climate, is home to some of the most gorgeous and unusual plants in the world. The country is also home to some lovely flower celebrations.

You can also try the:-

17th Annual Sweetie and Flower Show on the 1st of December, also in Auckland.

Pick your own blueberries and lavender on 15 December, Hamilton, Waikato.

And look out for the 2019 shows, in particular the Home and Garden Show in May and then the Go Green Expo in August.

If you live in Auckland, we definitely suggest you attend this show. The prices are good and it is a fab outing. And if you are mad about flowers but live in other parts of New Zealand, well, turn it into a holiday. You can spend a few days in Auckland, book into a gorgeous hotel or guesthouse, enjoy some divine meals and do a little sightseeing, and attend the flower show too.

Note there are specially priced tickets for elderly citizens and pensioners, children under the age of 12 are free and you can get a pass for the entire show too.


The Devastation of Hurricane Michael in Florida

Its been five days since Hurricane Michael passed through Florida, and rescue teams are still scrambling to find survivors, deliver aid and clear the horrific mess left behind. While most people were boarded up in their homes, or waiting the storm out in shelters, there were the usual and inevitable casualties and deaths. Not everyone can escape a hurricane like this.

Many of the areas affected have been cut off by the rains and the death toll is likely to rise. The power of nature has never been more evident and the devastation left behind has been awful.

The storm, which made landfall last Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, took the lives of people in 4 states. Florida, the Sunshine State, suffered the worst destruction.

The strong winds and heavy rains pulverised the states panhandle, uprooting trees and rooftops, sending motor vehicles flying across roads, destroying beaches, roads and homes. Power was cut to almost a million homes and businesses.

The power of the hurricane was caught by the International Space Station and the footage is indeed dramatic. This was one fierce hurricane, but then, Florida is seeing more and more fierce hurricanes than ever before.

Trees that have stood for literally a hundred years were toppled. Parks are filled with debris. There is hardly a flower left. But this is not a time to be thinking about flowers.

And yet we know that out of this destructions, lives and nature repair themselves. It takes time to rebuild, especially with so much rubble and debris strewn around communities. Residents are starting to make their way back to their homes, to assess the damage and to see what they have lost.

Many have lost everything. Seeing people standing over their destroyed homes with so few possessions left, is utterly heartbreaking. Even for the most seasoned journalist.

The devastation that this hurricane has caused has again sparked new debate about global warming, climate change and the effect it is having on nature and humans. Floods, drought, hurricanes, hail storms are all occurring in greater force than ever before - often unexpected, often unexplained and often, extremeley unpredictable.

Florida has seen storms before and the state is more prepared than ever before. Yet nobody can be really prepared for a catastrophe of nature.

And it is clear that global warming may require more stringent building standards in coastal areas, which are hardest hit. There have to be stronger laws put into place regarding building requirements, where people build and also, what comes down. Too often, natural forest and vegetation are cleared, to allow for new homes and businesses. Yet these are the very forests and vegetation that could have kept people safe in the past, from water surges and flooding river.

Looking at the devastation in Florida, one also sees community. People come together to fix, clean, clear and rebuild.

Right now, residents are redoing their houses, clearing the debris from their gardens, and then as they do, they will start again. Not all residents are lucky enough to be able to just clean up; they have lost everything. Insurance companies are busy, as they always are, assessing. Until the next hurricane. And the next natural disaster.

The Eurasia Plant Fair is coming to Turkey, 22 to 24 November

Turkey is a country that we associate with exotic architecture, history and culture, delicious Turkish delight, bustling and colourful markets, aromatic teas, a stunning azure coastline and of course, belly dancing. We dont really think of flowers and Turkey in one sentence, and yet Turkey holds the Eurasia Plant Fair annually and it has become a huge event.

This year the Eurasia Plant Fair is being held from the 22nd to the 24th November, inclusive. The venue is the TÜYAP in Beylikdüzü Organize Sanayi Bölgesi, Turkey, and there will be thousands of visitors from all over the world. There will also be close to 300 exhibitors.

This show is a little different to other flower shows which is why we like it. It is more of a fair or event. There is a large focus on indoor and outdoor ornamental plants, something which is very popular in the east and gaining in popularity in the west. You will also find exhibits on Mediterranean crops, bulbs, seeds, soil, peat and perlite, and cut flowers too.

This is the 10th Eurasia Plant Fair and it is certainly becoming more popular each year, not just with flower lovers from the east. As we said, a large focus is on ornamental plants for both indoor and outdoors, and these are gaining in popularity in the west and Africa too.

So what will you see at the Eurasia Plant Fair? Well, you will definitely meet people who are involved in horticulture, floriculture and landscaping. You will meet large and small buyers, large and small floral companies and you will see some of the most gorgeous flowers and ornamental displays in the world.

This show attracts visitors from Turkey, of course, the wider Eurasian area, CIS, The Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa. This year the show is hoping to attract more European and American visitors than ever before.

The show takes place over three days. You can still book a stand if you want to exhibit, and you can easily become a visitor. This show is the place to see new innovations, meet new and exciting suppliers and conduct new business. It is a place to see beauty and to do business.

The show is the regions largest flower fair and trade event for professional horticulturalists, floriculturists and landscapers. Learn new harvesting technologies, innovative new ways of planting, growing and harvesting, and see a huge variety of ornamental plants.

And then there is Turkey itself. If you are spending time at the Eurasia Plant Fair, extend your visit and explore Turkey too. A few days in Istanbul is exciting and not to be missed, a boat trip on the Bosporus river is truly special and if you have time, an extension to Cappadocia or to a coastal village will be perfect.

You can book for the Eurasia Flower Fair online right here. And for your Turkish arrangements - well, the internet is filled with lots of advise re tours, transport and hotels. Book directly or go via a Tour Operator.

Either way, make it floral. And deliciously ornamental.


The Gardens of Villa Della Pergola

Garden lovers, you have just two weeks left to get to see the Gardens of Villa Della Pergola, in Italy.  The gardens are open from May till the end of October  each year,  If you are in Italy, or love the idea of spontaneous travel, you should start making plans quickly. These gardens, in Alassio, Italy, are magnificent. The gardens are known as the ‘Botanical Marvel’ of the Riviera and the Mediterranean, and they really are.  The Agapanthas Collection, a sea of blue and purple is exquisite.  The Wisteria Collection, offering over 32 types of wisteria, is colourful, pale, romantic and ethereal. And the Path of Senses will astonish you with it’s beautiful and varied scents, sounds and colours. These gardens also have an astonishing story behind them.  The estate was up for sale in 2006 and a group of friends, garden lovers and landscape designers headed to Alassio, to save them from property development.  We can be forever grateful to them.  Landscape designer Paolo Peirone spearheaded the project, assessing the situation of the park (gardens), and then put together a team to clear, weed, love and restore. And the restoration was huge! The gardens had been neglected for years.  But soon, giant strelitzias were popping up, a citrus plant collection was introduced, cactus gardens were developed and the old and adored wisteria and agapanthus replaced and replanted. When you see the gardens today, in all their splendour, it is hard to believe the change.  That a few people could do this - of course now there is a huge team - is pretty extraordinary. The gardens were originally created in the late 1870s.  They were designed to fulfil the desires of General Montagu McMurdo and his wife, Lady Susan Sarah Napier, who wanted their own private villa on the Riviera, a summer home. The estate was surrounded by citrus, olive and carob groves, the fruit from which would feed pack animals.  There were pergolas and ornamental plants, terraces and terracotta balustrades, and today, there is all of that, and more. The estate passed hands a number of times, going first to Sir Walter Hamilton Dalrymple and his family, and then to Daniel Hanbury and his family.   Both these families, very wealthy in their own rights, did extraordinary work on the gardens, increasing the plant species, building and improving. But then the war broke out, the Second World War, and the estate was seized by the Germans.  It remained closed for many years, where all the beauty created was neglected. Scandalous, we say. And thank goodness for garden lovers and entrepreneurs who have once again turned these gardens into a place of outer beauty. The Villa Della Pergola grounds are open to the public every weekend from March to the end of October.  If you prefer a guided tour, you can book these in advance.  And if you are with a  group, group bookings can be made for weekdays only.  The gardens are also fantastic for children who can take part in watering, planting and nurturing certain plants. We urge you to take a look at the magnificent website of Villa Della Pergola.  You can almost smell the flowers through the pages.  Spend a half day here, quite easily, and if you have the time, a full day will be divine. Wander, smell, learn, marvel, photograph and plan your next visit. There are many hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts in the vicinity.  Alassio is an interesting Italian town, on the Riviera.  Alassio is in the province of Savona, on the west coast of Luguria in North Italy.  You are literally 80 kms away from the French border.  Alassio is all about natural beauty, magnificent ocean, scenic views and a lovely town centre with a cobblestoned road. And of course, Alassio is about the Villa Della Pergola.  If you cannot make it this year, make it next year.  Remember, they’re open from May to October, annually. https://www.giardinidivilladellapergola.com/en/index.html