Enchanting and iconic, bluebells are a favourite with the fairies and a sure sign that spring is in full swing.

Interesting fact: Almost half the world’s bluebells are found in the UK. And there are few better places to find them than in the ancient woods of West Sussex. Most years I pay a visit the Duke of Norfolk’s Angmering Park Estate to photograph them. Like tulips, they look best en masse, when they’re at their best is very weather dependent and they don’t last long. That means timing is everything.

Usually it’s around the end of April or beginning of May, though some will flower earlier or later depending on their location and local climate. …


Suave and sophisticated, Robert Palmer is known as much for his well-tailored image and stylish videos as he is for his songs. I’ve admired his music ever since he released his first solo album back in 1974 and followed his career which spanned fourteen solo records, plus various greatest hits compilations, live albums and his supergroup project with members of Duran Duran.

I also got to see Robert Palmer live, once at the beginning of his career when he was singing with Elkie Brooks in Vinegar Joe and then some year later at the Hammersmith Odeon at the height of…


Following a year shuttered by the pandemic, one of England’s most magical gardens finally burst back into life with a kaleidoscope of colourful blooms.

Originally hailing from Turkey, ever since the Tulipmania of the 17th century elevated them to collector status, tulips have created a special place among the world’s species of flowers.

Not only do tulips come in almost every colour, but in many different shapes, sizes and styles. In fact there are now some 3,000 registered varieties, so many that when different varieties are seen side by side, it’s often hard to believe that any two are the same specie.

Indeed, tulips can be divided into no less than 15 different groups or categories. The most rudimentary being the classic six-petaled single…


A few years ago I was asked by the Littlehampton Heritage Group to look into the history of two Littlehampton streets: Pier Road and Bayford Road.

Over several weeks, I did a lot of research and began to compile my findings. However, as often happens, other things took over and it looked like the work would never see the light of day.

With time on my hands, lockdown has allowed me to reassess so much of what I’ve done, from the tens of thousands of live music, automotive and floral photos I’ve either never shared or those that I’m giving…


The first song David Bowie wrote for another artist, and one of the best he’s ever written, is now regarded as one of glam rock’s all-time classics. Recorded in the dead of night, in complete secrecy, it took just a couple of hours to record. This is the story behind the song.

Almost 50 years after it was recorded, All The Young Dudes Bowie’s anthem for displaced kids, still sounds fresh today and continues to be covered by artists of every genre.

To this day, many claim it’s the best song he ever wrote. But why did Bowie write it, what’s it all about, what makes it such a special song and why did he give it away? Let’s take a deep dive and find out.

The background: 1972 was the year that Britain officially joined the European Union, year the Watergate scandal broke and the year when terrorists killed nine Israeli…


Soaking up the sights in Britain’s most photogenic city

I’ve been to Bath once before, many years ago, so a return trip was long on the agenda. With lockdown easing, it was one of the first places I wanted to visit. It’s such a photogenic city, there are photo opportunities quite literally around every corner. Indeed, one has to be sparing on what to shoot in order to focus on the most interesting and most deserving subject matter.

While this is a photographic impression of what I got to see, I only spent an afternoon there in July at a time where much of the city’s attractions were either…


The five most elegant cars at the UK’s first concours of the year

Since the end of March, one by one, I’ve witnessed every single event I was expecting to attend, review and photograph either get cancelled or postponed. In some cases, these were annual events that have been running continuously for years. But as my diary kept getting emptier and emptier, one event stubbornly remained on schedule: the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace. To be honest, it was one I fully expected to eventually go the way of all the others.

That it was taking place at all surprised me because the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, originally due to…


Following months of lockdown, one of Britain’s most renowned gardens was one of the first to reopen to the public. Although not everything was accessible, what there was to see was a feast for the eyes.

In 1932, Edward James inherited the 6,350-acre West Dean Estate near Chichester in West Sussex. He was just 25, the youngest of five children and the only son. His father, William Dodge James, had made a fortune in America through copper mining and in the railroad industry.

A lifetime supporter of surrealist art — Edward was the major benefactor to the Spanish artist Salvador Dali, whose career would not have taken off without his financial assistance. After travelling extensively in America promoting Dali, he began building Las Posaz, a vast property in Mexico. The project became so consuming that by…


As Kew burst back into life after languishing in lockdown, not everything in the garden was rosy.

With the Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, as well as Arundel Castle’s Tulip Festival and Allium Extravaganza all victims of COVID-19, until recently, my floral fix this year had amounted to just a single trip to West Dean Gardens a week after it reopened from lockdown.

Plans for a long-overdue visit to Kew in June were delayed when I learned most of its big features would be closed. The world-famous glasshouses reopened on 4 July so I booked my slot. …


Just one year into the role, West Dean Gardens new head gardener faced the biggest challenge of his horticultural career: having to close the gardens to the public due to COVID-19. After being shut for months, West Dean has finally reopened. In this interview, Tom talks about the surreal challenges he and his team faced and reveals his thoughts on the future of one of England’s great gardens.

In 1932, when he was just 25, Edward James inherited the 6,350 acre West Dean estate, near Chichester in West Sussex. As well as being a keen gardener, he was a patron of the arts, especially surrealist art and its most prominent artist, Salvador Dali. Before he died in 1984 he set up the Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust, which today occupies the magnificent James Wyatt designed flint-faced house, built in 1804.

There have been gardens on this site since 1622, those we are familiar with today first opened to the public in 1871 and for almost three decades…

Gary Marlowe

Creator of images that are out of the ordinary, reviewer of live music and live events and interviewer of interesting people

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