Country Life

The secret flowers of Shangri-La

HAVE a look at these,’ said Yoko. A contact in Japan had just emailed her some photographs of farmsteads, temple precincts and private gardens. All appeared to be scenes from an era long-past, yet the pictures were recent. The effect was strange, as if the photographer had been time-travelling, and it was heightened by the azaleas that dominated each image.

These ranged from impressive trees with gnarled black boughs to immense shrubs with domed crowns

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