Getting Physic-al

Whether you believe in climate change or not, the autumns here in the UK are staying milder for longer. Growing up in a Devon coastal resort, I remember we often had our first frosts early in November, but even living inland now, it can be a month later before the thermometer drops below zero overnight. […]

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Sumptuous and Hardy

It’s autumn, and to keep the colour going, the gardener turns to plants of doubtful hardiness. Annuals struggle on, desperate to set seed before the frosts kill them off, dahlias flaunt in the borders before midnight chimes, while chrsyanthemums dash in, arriving at the last minute before the curtain falls on another gardening year. But […]

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More Autumn Blues

Last month, I wrote how blue is not a usual colour for flowers in the autumn. How wrong I was. Perhaps I’ve subconsciously been seeking them out, but blue flowers are all over the place in my garden just now – the vitex I wrote about, salvias, ceanothus, and aconitums. But possibly the bluest of […]

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An unlikely aster

Even before the botanists started splitting clumps out of the aster family, aster linosyris seemed an unlikely member. Known as the Goldilocks Aster, this rare British native (which also grows in much of Europe as well as Asia Minor) has small, bright yellow flowers on stems anything up to a couple of feet tall. But […]

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Big and Blue

Blue is not a common colour in the world of flowers, especially in late summer and early autumn. Most shrubs have flowered by now as well, so to find a large blue-flowered shrub at this time of year must be considered a bonus. Welcome to vitex agnus-castus. According to Wikipedia, it is also known as the […]

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Mind the gap

Not all plants (and I am talking about bulbs and perennials) die back at the same time. Spring flowering bulbs have generally died back by early June, leaving a space for burgeoning summer growth to fill. Allium foliage has a tendency to start decaying just as the bulbs come into bloom – I find that […]

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