BlueBell Arboretum and Nursery

I have been meaning to get better acquainted with the larger members of the plant world for some time. Being a ‘small’ gardener, my focus always seems to be on bulbs, perennials and compact shrubs which take up relatively little space. There’s nothing wrong in this, but one day I hope to expand my horizons and […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Clematis armandii

Good news! Our Clematis armandii is back from its travels. Last May I reported its escape from our garden, but the adventurous vine has now scrambled so high into our neighbour’s trees that we can appreciate the deliciously scented white flowers again. A mild winter suited this slightly tender clematis; the flowers are the most abundant I […]

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Three New Projects

In my current job, holidays are pretty much an impossibility between October and the end of March. The plus side to the inevitable fatigue is being able to take all my holiday during spring and summer. I am not, and never will be a winter person; the dark days make me groggy and slightly sour. […]

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Hangers-On

It’s midweek and already my brain has turned to blancmange.  So for everyone’s sake, I’ll keep today’s post simple. Living by the seaside, we need not stray very far to marvel at nature’s resourcefulness.  Occupying a variety of precarious positions, chalk-loving wild flowers punctuate the white cliffs around Broadstairs from spring until late autumn.  Pictured […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Pulsatilla vulgaris AGM

It’s been a heavy week, so I am going to end it with something light and fluffy. These are the silken seedheads of the pasque flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, which follow the soft purple spring blooms. Pulsatilla is closely related to clematis, via the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), hence the close resemblance of the seedheads to our […]

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Mottisfont – The Meeting Place by the Fountain

‘It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important’. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry In Saxon times, just a few yards from the River Test lay a natural, spring-fed pool, or ‘font’, over three metres deep. The font provided the focus for village meetings, or ‘moots’, and so it is […]

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Chelsea 2013: My Top Ten Plants

At a show on the scale of Chelsea picking out just ten plants which really get you excited is a tough job. Every year there are clear plants of the moment, which this time happened to be Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’, Enkianthus (a bit of a surprise), peonies (especially blousy white varieties) and Aquilegia in every […]

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Chelsea 2013: Let the Show Begin!

The shop windows of Sloane Square are decorated with flowers, Alan Titchmarsh has been applying the Grecian 2000 and the weather’s set to be cool and wet. It can only be time for The Chelsea Flower Show. The Queen kicks off proceedings tomorrow for the 49th time and clearly loves every minute of her annual […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Clematis alpina

You know spring has sprung when the pale, stringy stems of Clematis alpina burst into leaf. An incredibly hardy climber, Clematis alpina can manage without pruning, will tolerate a north facing wall and leap like a mountain goat across low growing shrubs. The purple, pink or white flowers emerge immediately after the leaves and are […]

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Flowers of Bhutan – Clematis montana

I have finally solved the curious case of the flowering evergreen oak. All along our travels in Bhutan I kept spotting what appeared to be oaks covered in sparkling white blossoms. Had I discovered a new species? Sadly, no, the white flowers belong to Clematis montana. Not as most of us gardeners know it, pink […]

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