Getting The Chop

Part of any gardener’s skill set is judging when enough is enough; that point where exuberance and gay abandon tip over into a top-heavy, over-blown mess. If pruning, cutting back or hedge trimming is not tackled at the right time it can be difficult, time-consuming or even impossible to get some plants back into shape, […]

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Going to The Chapel

  When a new garden opens for the National Gardens Scheme in Thanet it’s a major event, principally because there are only three others, one of which is my own. And this year’s newcomer, situated in an isolated rural spot known as Thorne Hill, is a beauty. Created by Andrew Montgomery, The Chapel is a […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Euonymus japonicus

Euonymus japonicus: evergreen spindle, Japanese spindle On days like these, when we’d all rather be indoors, wrapped in a blanket with a glass of something red, those of us with seaside gardens are grateful for a small but indispensable cohort of tough shrubs capable of creating shelter quickly and reliably. They include tamarisk (Tamarix tetranda […]

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Spring Flower Candy: Prunus spinosa

I’ll admit I am a little overdue with this one, but 2015 has been one of the latest I can recall for blackthorn blossom (the flowers of Prunus spinosa). In a normal year there could be a clear month between the single white flowers of blackthorn falling and the appearance of hawthorn blossom (lovingly referred to as ‘may’), but this spring the […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Fuchsia magellanica var. gracilis AGM

Few plants hold their flowers as gracefully as fuchsias. Whether large or small flowered, the blooms typically tremble at the end of fine wiry stems. How I enjoyed unceremoniously popping the balloon-like buds of the varieties we grew in our garden when I was a child. They deserved better treatment. I have always found fuchsias utterly captivating […]

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Return to the Salutation

With both gardens almost locked-down for winter it’s time to start writing about some of the places that have not yet made it on to The Frustrated Gardener. These half-forgotten visits are like blogging hay – sweet, fragrant and reminiscent of a time when the earth was warm and the sun high in the heavens […]

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Glorious Goodnestone, Part II: Graceful Grasses

I have to admit I am not terribly well informed when it comes to grasses. My vocabulary extends about as far as Stipa and Dechampsia but not far beyond, so those of you who don’t care for Latin names can read on without fear of being bamboozled. Sadly, neither of our gardens offers the space […]

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Summer Serendipity

The English language is full of wonderful words, if only one can find the opportunity to use them. Thought to be one of the hardest words to translate into other tongues is ‘serendipity’, meaning ‘the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it’. And so it was, by taking a […]

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Jobs for October and Early November

I always think good gardening calls for a certain type of ruthlessness. Never is that quality more needed than at this time of year when almost everything has become overblown and top heavy. It’s fine to sedately mow and deadhead your way through summer, but there’s no room for sentimentality when it comes to autumn […]

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Life’s a Beach

Not all days are equal. Some are destined to disappoint, others to lift the spirits.  Today is one of the latter days, a day of high clouds, azure skies and calm seas.  A day for doing as you please and doing it at your own pace.  A day that banishes stress and creates time to […]

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