Scented flowers for the midwinter garden

  During the winter months, every flower in the garden is cherished like a precious gemstone. Once spring arrives, we’ll enjoy an elegant sufficiency of tissue-fine blooms, followed by an embarrassment of floral riches in the summer. Autumn offers an equal abundance of bright colour, before being swallowed up by the dull browns and frosted […]

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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: Iris histrioides ‘George’ AGM

I don’t know about you, but my green fingers fail me when it comes to keeping early spring irises flowering from one season to the next. The tiny bulbs, mainly cultivars and hybrids of Iris reticulata and Iris histrioides, are about the size, shape and colour of a garlic clove (‘reticulata’ refers the the protective […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Narcissus ‘Toto’ AGM

When I set out to post daily on the subject of daffodils, little did I know how distracting this week’s almost perfect gardening weather would be. The opportunity to spend two unbroken days outside rarely comes along and I have gardened from dawn to dusk. In the course of the last 48 hours, planting bulbs and rejuvenating […]

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A Drama of Dahlias

As far as I am aware, and please enlighten me should I be mistaken, there is not a collective noun for a group of dahlias. I have taken this terrible oversight into my own hands and, having considered ‘a dazzle’, ‘a blast’ and ‘a riot’, I’ve settled on ‘a drama’, summing up the dahlia’s extraordinarily ostentatious, extrovert blooms. Should anyone […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Vitis coignetiae AGM

This year’s autumn is turning out to be a long, drawn-out affair – less rocket, more damp squib.  But whatever the weather, a handful of plants are guaranteed to put on a firework display.  Vitis coignetiae, the crimson glory vine, is among them, a sure-fire hit when it comes to blazing colour.  You’ll need a […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Rhododendron macabeanum AGM

No, it’s not an exotic ginger or some new discovery from the steamy rainforests of Vietnam, it’s the detail of the bud scales of Rhododendron macabeanum . One of the easiest of the large-leaved rhododendrons to grow, it has a lot to offer if you have a sheltered spot with acidic, well drained soil. Huge […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Smilacina racemosa AGM

We’ve been searching for sturdy, shade loving-plants for our London garden, and where better to look than among the flora of North Amercia. Smilacina racemosa, the false Solomon’s seal, is a clump-forming perennial which produces fluffy plumes of creamy white flowers in spring. The flowers are followed by yellowish-green berries which turn to deep red […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Primula japonica ‘Postford White’ AGM

I’m continuing the water garden theme this week with one of my ‘plants of the moment’, candelabra primulas. I’ve been photographing them in various gardens for the last six weeks, and they never fail to show their best side. Happiest planted in continuously moist ground and in large swathes, they really come into their own […]

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A Spring Spectrum – Sandling Park, Kent

There are those that frown upon the lusty delights of rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas. I am not one of them. I expect these naysayers are the same folk who dislike orchids, with their similar flambuoyance and tendencies towards artifice. Yes, rhododendrons are big, bold and brazen, but they offer up colour aplenty in saturated hues […]

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