Counting the Cost

  I’ve been out in the garden this morning assessing the havoc wreaked by The Beast from The East and Storm Emma. It is not a pretty picture, as you will see from the photographs below. Leaves and twigs have been ripped from the trees, semi-hardy plants are flattened and more tender ones have been […]

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The White Stuff

Oh! How we love a ‘snow event’ here in England. The rare instances when the white stuff descends from the heavens used to be referred to as ‘flurries’, ‘snow storms’ or even ‘blizzards’ back in the day, but are now elevated to ‘white-outs’, ‘snowmageddon’ and ‘snowbombs’ alongside other ‘extreme weather events’. Like our celebrities and […]

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Frost Proof

The weather in the South East has continued to be bitterly cold this week. Our seaside garden, normally sheltered from frost, must have succumbed during the week. The leaves of Geranium maderense have gone limp at the tips, which is a tell-tale sign that the mercury has dropped below zero. They flap around forlornly in […]

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Cold Snap

Goodness it’s cold. If you’re in the UK, you won’t thank me for stating the bleeding obvious. If you are in Australia or New Zealand supping a glass of chilled chardy by the pool, spare a thought for us poor Poms freezing our extremities off this week. So far our seaside garden has escaped frost, […]

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A Touch of Frost

Last week Jack Frost paid the South East a visit,┬áspreading his icy fingers over fields, woods and gardens. The scenes at sunrise were breathtaking, a great satsuma of a sun illuminating layer after layer of petrified┬ácountryside. I was lucky enough to┬ábe out and about in Berkshire on one of those magical mornings, watching the day […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Rex’

Gunnera manicata, the giant rhubarb, has very few rivals for the sheer size of its leaves, but among them would be Tetrapanax papyrifer. Used in Asian countries for making paper, it’s more commonly employed in the UK as a dramatic focal point for tropical plantings. Tetrapanax papyrifer dislikes growing in a pot and prefers a […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Sinocalycanthus raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’

Now you’re past the tongue-twister of a name, you can enjoy the waxy, claret-coloured flowers of this unusual shrub. I first discovered Sinocalycanthus raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ at Felley Priory on a rainy day last year, but it’s since cropped up again and again, most recently on the Hillier Nurseries stand at Chelsea. Although hardy, it […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Osteospermum ‘Nuanza Copper Purple’

With flowers tinted violet, copper, tan and coral pink, Osteospermum ‘Nuanza Copper Purple’ is an exceptional tender plant. We grow it next to our shaggy-barked Lyonothamnus, which shares similar rusty tones. But take care when placing it in your garden. It clashes horribly with yellows, mauves and clear blues so is best partnered with copper, […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Paulownia tomentosa

British gardeners will go to any lengths to grow plants that really shouldn’t enjoy our chilly, damp climate. Once such plant is the foxglove tree, Paulownia tomentosa, prized for its large ornamental leaves and luscious lilac-coloured flowers. The cool start to the year has ensured that flowers have appeared late, avoiding frosts and guaranteeing a […]

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We’re a bit stuck this weekend. The white stuff came down constantly in central London yesterday, and whilst it made very little difference to life in town, it put me off going down to the coast on our reliably unreliable trains. We’ve also had to cancel birthday party no.2 as the Cotswold hotel we booked […]

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