Lobelia – a blue annual used in hanging baskets. There are also some perennial ones that often don’t survive the winter due to a combination of cold and wet conditions. This includes the variety ‘Queen Victoria’ with purple leaves and scarlet flowers that both gardeners and snails find irresistible. Then there’s another member of the […]Read more "It’s a lobelia, Jim, but not as we know it"
Three years ago, I decided to renovate the planting in my front garden. Over the years, it had grown into a mish-mash of plants with no overall theme or pattern, things I had seen and liked, but which somehow didn’t ‘work’. It was all too bitty with nothing of stature to pull it together. The […]Read more "Black and White (or pink or blue)"
“Garden rooms” are in the “in” thing with garden designers. Big plot? Make it seem bigger by dividing it into garden rooms. Long thin plot? Disguise the length by dividing it into garden rooms. These garden rooms are all very well, but what about their “walls”? You could put up a fence or trellis and […]Read more "When is a hedge not a hedge?"
Gladiolus – those brash, showy, top-heavy spikes of flowers, often seen at flower shows but rarely in gardens these days. Well yes, there are those, but there also the specie gladioli, smaller, more subtle, and sometimes hardy enough to be left in the ground over winter. Growing from corms, gladioli are found in Asia, Mediterranean Europe, […]Read more "Glad all over"
Actinidia kolomikta is a deciduous woody scrambler/twiner growing 25 to 30 feet. What sets it apart and makes it an attractive garden plant is the foliage, ovate-oblong and six inches long, marked with pink and white variegation once the plant is two to three years old. Discovered in the mid nineteenth century, actinidia kolomikta was soon being […]Read more "Kiwis and cats"
Being a plantsman, I am always on the look-out for interesting and unusual plants. A couple of years ago, I visited a small nursery about forty miles from home – the sort of place that is immaculate with well cared-for plants, the sort of nursery you instinctively trust. Among the plants on sale were some […]Read more "Is it or isn’t it?"
If bluebells are synonymous with Britain, crown imperials must surely be synonymous with Iran – they grow everywhere. In sun or shade, on open hillsides or rocky crevices, their orange flowers are abundant in early spring. Orange flowers are dominant in the wild. Even in the Dasht-e Laleh valley, where thousands of them grow, there are no […]Read more "Crown Imperials"