Here Comes Ciara! – How To Protect Your Garden From Stormy Weather

Winter thus far has consisted of a handful of slightly chilly nights with a lot of benign, mild, wet weather in between. The garden is bursting with signs of spring, some of which I have captured to illustrate this post. Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ is already blooming, at least 2 months earlier than usual. Legions of […]

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How to be a Better Gardener in 2020

January has been a month of quiet reflection. There’s been relatively little to do in the garden, the house is clean and tidy post Christmas and social engagements have been thin on the ground. Unusually we have spent most of our evenings in the library reading or playing with the dogs, which almost never happens […]

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Perfect Partners: Lobelia tupa & Lilium regale ‘Album’

The beauty of growing plants in pots is that they can be shuffled around endlessly until the most pleasing associations are made. I do this regularly, moving plants to the front, a little to the left or right, hiding them at the back or removing them from the picture altogether. Although occasionally tough on one’s […]

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Getting to Grips with Hardy Orchids

I can see a new addiction coming from a mile off, so on the whole I steer well clear of orchids. Over the ages thousands of plant collectors have been consumed, even broken, by their passion for orchids and I do not wish to join their ranks. Hence they are the only family of plants […]

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Action Stations!

One can be excused for inactivity during January – after all, Christmas is exhausting – but with the arrival of February the garden begins to demand one’s attention again. First of all there are the early signs of spring. Snowdrops are starting to bloom, tiny blue anemones poke tightly curled buds and bronzed leaves through […]

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Ten Things To Do In The Garden in January

January is a unique month in the year when plants, on the whole, demand very little from gardeners. House plants are an exception, but even these have minimal needs when light levels are low and days are short. January is the perfect month for gardeners to take stock, plan ahead, or simply take a break […]

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My Top Tips for Buying a Real Christmas Tree

Part of my day job is buying Christmas trees for British department store John Lewis & Partners. It’s a task I particularly enjoy since I can apply a modicum of horticultural expertise to my decision-making. Over the years, artificial Christmas trees have become increasingly realistic, to the extent that many models now have ‘tips’ that […]

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Autumn Spice

The problem with owning a garden dominated by evergreens and tropicals is that I don’t really get to experience autumn colour at home. My garden morphs quickly from fabulous full summer to winter green, pretty much when I get around making it happen. This year, during one of many moments of impulse, I purchased a […]

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My Top 10 Indoor / Outdoor Foliage Plants

  So I forgot. Today’s the day that the London Evening Standard publishes a feature on neon-coloured foliage and I am not even in London to pick up a copy. They say that if you want a job doing, give it to a busy person, but it you want something remembering, definitely don’t. I have […]

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In Search of the Surreal

No visit to Cornwall is complete without a spot of plant shopping. The nurseries in the county I consider home are among the best in the country, particularly for the kinds of plants I am interested in. As a rule, the further south west you go, the more gem-like the nurseries become: there’s Penberth Plants […]

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