In Praise of Nemesias

  When something you like grows well in your garden it makes sense to grow more of it. I count agapanthus, zantedeschia, trachelospermum and osteospermum amongst the plants that more than make themselves at home – they positively take possession. We all need carefree plants like this, otherwise gardening would be a slog. They look […]

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Ever Decreasing Circles

  This is a petrocosmea, a ground-hugging, rosette-forming relative of the African violet, hailing from the mountains of Western China. In its natural habitat it has a nice, orderly life, bathed in cool mist, languishing in the shade. Each plant produces an ever-expanding, mathematically perfect spiral of downy leaves, softer than a lamb’s ears. Occasionally […]

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Bella Donnas

Amaryllis belladonna: Jersey lily, naked lady, belladonna amaryllis    We gardeners spend so much time and energy trying to cultivate plants which aren’t 100% suited to our gardens. We slave away, attending to our tender treasures’ every need, hoping and praying that we might be rewarded by a precious bloom, two if we are lucky. […]

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Plant Portraits: Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’

Succulent plants are not everyone’s cup of tea, but one which attracted a lot of admiring glances when we opened our garden for the National Gardens Scheme was Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’. It’s hardly surprising given its height (hence arboreum, meaning ‘tree-like’) and the colour of the fleshy leaves, which are quite unlike the average houseleek. The […]

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Plant Portraits: Dicksonia antartica

For a while in the nineties, when television programmes such as Home Front and Ground Force ruled the air waves, tree ferns almost became a gardening cliché. They were saved from turning into the plant equivalent of prawn cocktail by their relative expense; a good quality, legally harvested specimen will set you back around £40 per foot. When […]

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Plants Portraits: Acanthus spinosus

It’s not often that I make time to really study a plant or flower in detail.  Last weekend, whilst staying with family, I seized the opportunity to have a closer look at Acanthus spinosus, commonly known as spiny bear’s breeches.  The plant’s leaves are believed to have inspired the flamboyant capitals of Roman Corinthian columns. […]

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Plant Portraits: Digitalis sceptrum

For the most part, the experience of gardening is a succession of small triumphs and minor failures, all of which make us stronger people and better gardeners.  Of course our patience is sometimes tried by storm and pestilence, then just occasionally we get to enjoy a major achievement. It may not be a big deal […]

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