Autumn Spice

The problem with owning a garden dominated by evergreens and tropicals is that I don’t really get to experience autumn colour at home. My garden morphs quickly from fabulous full summer to winter green, pretty much when I get around making it happen. This year, during one of many moments of impulse, I purchased a […]

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In Praise of Foliage

Gardeners the world over are obsessed with flowers. I am no exception. As well as being beautiful to look at, flowers are a sign of success, something one can measure a garden and its gardener by. Along with fruit and vegetables, flowers are part of the horticultutal triumvirate we choose to judge competitively, always striving […]

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Spring Flower Candy: Allium ursinum

Yesterday I sang the praises of an orchid, today I am waxing lyrical about an onion, or a garlic to be precise. Monday’s Spring Flower Candy is a complete contrast to pretty Pleione formosana, although both plants grow from bulbs and enjoy a moist woodland environment. My subject is Allium ursinum, better known as ramsons, stinking Jenny or […]

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Stars of the Solstice

The winter solstice is the longest night and shortest day of the year, this year falling on Sunday December 21st. The Earth’s axis tilts the furthest away from the sun at 23-and-a-half degrees, giving all locations north of the equator less than 12 hours of daylight. This pivotal moment in the calendar has been marked by […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Rhus typhina

The list of plants I’d like to grow if I had space is endless and trees would make up many of that number. I am increasingly anxious to get on and start planting so that I might one day see them in maturity, but suspect I may already be a little late to achieve such a […]

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A Golden Moment in La Ville-Lumière

We all know about Paris in the spring – the lilacs, pleached limes and cafe society – but few people set out to explore this beautiful city in winter. I have been blessed with fine weather on my travels over the last couple of weeks, but by any standards today was a dreamy day to […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

I’ve been away for a couple of days in Germany, enjoying the leafy surroundings of Bad Driburg, a pretty, rural spa town. Perfectly suited to the bucolic setting was Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, planted in abundance around my hotel and in neighbouring gardens. The leaves are wonderfully soft and felty, providing the perfect foil for the […]

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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: Euphorbia rigida ‘Chris Brickell’

The Euphorbias are a wonderful group of plants – varied, yet unmistakable with their leafy stems and typically acid-yellow flower heads. A new discovery for me last year was this low growing form of Euphorbia rigida named ‘Chris Brickell’. It’s similar to Euphorbia myrsinities but with pointed, glaucous blue leaves flushed maroon at the tips. […]

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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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