Daily Flower Candy: Clematis “Étoile Violette” AGM

  The only plant of any value that came with the purchase of Polegate Cottage was a clematis. Squeezed into an impossibly tight gap between paving slabs it scrambles over a wrought iron arch above the garden gate. It has withstood all the builders’ toings and froings and is now covered in a rude quantity […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Hosta “Halcyon” AGM

Alright, enough now, all this wet stuff has been marvellous but where’s the sun? This time last year it was scorching – so scorching in fact that my day at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show was made bearable only by copious ice-cold Laurent Perrier and the good humour of my heat-hardened Aussie friend Helen. Happily, […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Clematis ‘Madame Julia Correvon’ AGM

It’s been a vintage year for clematis, in our London garden especially. Plants that have previously performed well but never shone have been turbo-charged by a cool, damp start to the year. They have veritably raced up columns, walls and trees, treating us to lush, unblemished displays of colourful flowers. Non climbing Clematis heracleifolia has almost […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Catalpa bignonioides “Aurea” AGM

  I am deep into writing two or three lengthy posts, each of which is defying me when it comes to crafting a satisfactory ending. Rather than torture myself, experience tells me to write about something else, perhaps a light-hearted subject, before returning to the serious stuff. So, as an interlude, let me present you […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Crinodendron hookerianum

Crinodendron hookerianum: Chilean lantern tree, Tricuspidaria lanceolata There are some trees that you don’t come across very often, but when you do they are guaranteed to blow you away. Crinodendron hookerianum, the Chilean lantern tree is one of them. Like all good plants it was introduced to the UK by a Cornishman, William Lobb, in […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Nemesia “Wisley Vanilla”

I like to experiment and try new things in my two tiny gardens; hence I rarely grow the same summer annuals twice. I make a few exceptions, and they are all white-flowered: Begonia semperflorens, bog-standard busy lizzies and Nemesia “Wisley Vanilla”. Asked which of these I would take to my desert island I would answer, […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Iris confusa

Iris confusa: bamboo iris, 扁竹蘭 As the fig, olive and bay have matured, our seaside garden has become partly shaded. Where once plants basked in full sun, there are now spots that remain in cool shadow for most of the day. Having fought against the prevailing conditions for a few seasons, I have seen sense […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Tulipa ‘Rococo’

Some of you were not enamoured of the buds of Tulipa ‘Rococo’ when I featured them in a post three weeks ago. The gnarled, contorted points were variously described as ‘prehistoric’, ‘like warts growing on smooth skin’ and ‘not looking very healthy’. Such comments were completely accurate and caused no offence. But I knew that […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Pelargonium papilionaceum

pelargonium papilionaceum: geranium papilionaceum, butterfly geranium, Rambossie Geranium as a perfume and flavouring is very much in vogue. Its complex, warming, astringent notes are being employed by enlightened artisans to infuse everything from chocolate to gin. My favourite summer scent, “Geranium pour Monsieur” by Frederick Malle, combines the eponymous ingredient with cloves, cinnamon, white musk, […]

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Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back

The star turns in our London garden are performed by those plants that can survive with their heads in semi-shade and their roots in dense, damp, unctuous clay. Some plants give stardom a shot, only to find the going tough after a season: these one-hit wonders fade away and are quickly forgotten. But a few […]

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