Daily Flower Candy: Iris ‘Blue Note’ and Iris ‘Painted Lady’

I planted so many pots with bulbs before Christmas that I’ve had to bring them on in serried ranks down the side of both paths that lead to my house. It’s not a glamorous solution, but in a tiny space one learns to make use of every nook and cranny. Sheltered beneath walls and fences, […]

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Aeonium Envy

I have loved a great many aeoniums, and lost a few too. Not to frost, which is is their main enemy in UK gardens, but to lack of sunshine and a mysterious, munching caterpillar. Back at home in Broadstairs they demand some winter protection indoors, which invariably results in pale, anaemic leaves. These are quickly […]

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Inspiring Irises

A punishing week at work, now followed by a debilitating bout of tonsillitis, has left me feeling less than enthused about the arrival of February and yet more chilly weather. Having decided to be officially grumpy today, I had to quickly change my mind after spotting a pot of cheerful Iris reticulata “Gordon” (above) when […]

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Coming in from the cold

With the first properly cold weather now on the horizon, a small gardener’s conundrum is what to save from the frost and what to leave to a chilly fate. Those lucky people with a conservatory, small greenhouse or generous windowsills are in the best position to overwinter tender plants. Sadly we have none of these, […]

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Pothead Bulbs

Right on cue, the lovely people from Avon Bulbs delivered my order yesterday – a box packed with lilies, tulips, crocuses, Narcissus, Iris, and Alliums.  With it came the promise of new varieties and exciting colour combinations to experiment with.  The timing could not have been better, leaving me four weekends over which to plant them before […]

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Agapanthus – The Pride of Africa

Agapanthus is the signature plant in our coastal garden and deservedly so.  We grow Agapanthus africanus, the largest of the family, hailing from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.   In some countries, and even in the UK’s Isles of Scilly, it can “go wild” and become a nuisance.  In our garden (below) it’s […]

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A Touch of Ginger

Bringing a touch of the tropics to our garden this summer are two members of the ginger family – Hedychium densiflorum “Stephen” and Cautleya spicata. The Cautleya has been crammed into a 14″ pot for three or four years. I meant to re-pot it into a much larger container this spring, but by the time […]

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Beguiled by Begonias

I expect it’s desperately unfashionable to say so, but I do love a nice Begonia. They are easy on the eye, diverse and sometimes dramatic, but normally easy to grow, appreciating a little bit of shade. So I was instantly drawn to Dibleys’ magnificent display of Begonias and Coleus at last week’s Hampton Court Flower […]

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Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 – Top Picks

So, it finally stopped raining and I was able to spend a few enjoyable hours in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, soaking up the sights, the smells and the mud underfoot.  Hampton Court flower show is our second biggest show after Chelsea, but Chelsea it is not.  Although it’s a more spacious event, the […]

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Sensational Sissinghurst (Part 1 – Wall Flowers)

The gardens of Sissinghurst Castle in Kent must be amond the best known in England, if not the whole of Europe.  They are the creation of two people, Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson, who arrived at the property in 1930.  Over a period of 32 years they worked together on this gentle masterpiece, […]

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