Firing Up For Summer

At a cursory glance, the hedgerows of eastern South America do not look too dissimilar from those back home. but then a flash of orange makes you aware you are seeing something different – Embothrium lanceolata, the Chilean Firebush Growing in the Andes, this has proved hardier than E. coccineum, a lowland species with broader leaves. But it […]

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Cherry and Lilac

Spring is all about bulbs. Snowdrops, crocus, narcissus, hyacinths, tulips – there are bulbs everywhere you look, responding to the warmth and moisture of spring. But many small woodland perennials are putting on an early display as well, making the most of the light available before the tree canopy takes over. Omphalodes cappadocica is a […]

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Some like it wet

Many bulbs have evolved in hot, dry climates. They wait for spring or autumn rains to begin growth, then flower and set seed before conditions become hostile again. A few, such as our native fritillaria melegaris, enjoy moister growing conditions. Another member of the same family, fritillaria reuteri, revels in wet spots. Here it is, […]

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An excellent tulip

While we are waiting for the large tulips to start, many of the smaller species ones are out of bed and flowering already. One of these is Tulipa praestans, a native of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, where it grows on rocky slopes and screes, and in light woodland. In the garden, it should be given a […]

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Getting it wrong

While some plants pine away and die in our gardens, others become a pestilential weed. They either have roots that run, sending up new growth anywhere there is space or among precious neighbours, or are prolific self-seeders. Or worse still, both. Plants that are intent on world domination, starting with your back yard. I have […]

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Unimproved

As I get older, I find I am increasingly drawn to simpler flowers. There are exceptions – I still adore the magnificent old double red peony, Paeonia officinalis ‘Rubra Plena’ and admire the passion flower clematis, Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’. But the simplicity of Paeonia emodi and Clematis koreana are now more my style of plants. Highly bred hellebore flowers with picotee edging or […]

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