CUTTINGS

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Painting plants

An exhibition of the history of botanical illustration has opened at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The earliest illustrations come from 15th-century herbals, the most recent are by contemporary artists. The images come from woodcuts, gardening manuals, seedsmen's catalogues and field guides. One of the highlights is a selection of watercolours from the 17th-century Walther Florilegium, a catalogue of the garden of the Count of Nassau at Idstein, near Frankfurt. It recorded native and exotic species brought to Europe from the Americas. The show runs to 24 September.

Prunus by post

"Cambridge has many beautiful trees and hedges of the white (wild type) form of Prunus cerasifera," writes Dr Mark Hill from that city. "So many and so beautiful are they that the celebrated historian of the countryside, Oliver Rackham, has declared

them to be part of the genius loci of Cambridge. They were obviously being planted up to the Fifties but now they are virtually unobtainable. I long for one but my local garden centre stocks only the pink-flowered Prunus `Pissardii'." Take heart, Dr Hill. The plain white P cerasifera is available from: Scotts Nurseries, Merriott, Somerset TA16 5PL (01460 72306); Arivegaig Nursery, Aultbea, Acharacle, Argyll PH36 4LE (01967 431331); Buckingham Nurseries, 14 Tingewick Road, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire MK18 4AE (01280 813556). All do mail order.

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