Chelsea Flower Show 2018: The Trailfinders South African Wine Estate

  Same sponsor, different continent …. after a five-year hiatus Trailfinders are back and this time they’ve transported us to South Africa. For eight consecutive years Trailfinders brought us Australian themed gardens, bidding a temporary farewell in 2013 with an epic garden designed by the brilliant Phillip Johnson, one of my garden design heroes. That […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Polygala myrtifolia

Polygala myrtifolia: myrtle-leaf milkwort, September bush, Augustusbossie   At the end of the summer I often buy plants to plug gaps in the garden, with no expectation that they will flower for more than six to eight weeks. They are simply there to do a job, and keep the display going through autumn, until cold […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Nerine filamentosa

  When I chose to buy bulbs of Nerine filamentosa, I was wooed by the catalogue description of flowers so delightful that one might imagine they were sent from heaven. How easily seduced am I? Three bulbs duly arrived in spring. I noted they were much smaller than those of other nerines and wondered if […]

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How Does my Garden Grow? August

  My garden has come together rather later than usual, but come together it has. Unburdened by not opening for the National Gardens Scheme, I have been able to take my time rather than diving for the line. On the whole I think the garden is better for it, as are my nerves. Nevertheless, I’ll […]

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How to Persuade Agapanthus to Flower

  It’s a good year for agapanthus here at The Watch House. A rough count of the flower heads produced by Agapanthus africanus tops 60, which is not the most I’ve ever enjoyed, but is the best in recent years. An increased amount of shade in the garden has not helped – more on which […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Osteospermum

  As indispensable plants for seaside gardens go, ostespermums are high on the list, and most certainly in the top ten. They are low-growing, sun-loving sub-shrubs which produce a profusion of large, daisy-like flowers in spring. Modern varieties continue to bloom throughout the summer and autumn, but lack the poise and elegance of plain old […]

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Running Late

  As someone who usually extols the virtues of timeliness, I have been letting myself down rather a lot lately. I planted my spring-flowering bulbs late (some just a fortnight ago) and now I am behind with ordering my summer-flowering bulbs too. Between October and late March my work / life balance tips firmly in favour […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Streptocarpus saxorum 

Streptocarpus saxorum: False African violet, Cape primrose. Streptocarpus and I have an on/off love affair. I buy them from the garden centre looking fresh and full of promise; sometimes they stay that way until the fatal day when I give them a drop more water than they would like. Then, taking no account of the […]

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Gold Medal Gardens – Southern Hemisphere

Visitors to the Olympic park via the bustling Stratford entrance were for two weeks greeted by the showiest of the London 2012 gardens, representing the Southern Hemisphere. To my mind these were among the most successful plantings, representing the British fascination with tender perennials dating back to the 19th century. Judging by the number of […]

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