Glad all over

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, […]

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Some heritage daffodils

Those who live in the UK may remember two series of programmes on the BBC called “The Great British Garden Revival.” One of them featured Carol Klein extolling the virtues of heritage varieties of daffodils, some of which have naturalised in the hedgerows of Cornwall, a county that used to grow them for the early cut […]

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A frit by any other name

Have you noticed how many plant names have changed in the past few years? Schizostylis became hesperis, dicentra spectabilis is now lamprocapnos spectabilis (who makes up these names?!), and some of the asters are now symphiotrichum. Several years ago, Russian botanists decided fritillaria sewerzowii displayed enough differences from the rest of the family to be split […]

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Small but perfectly formed

There are some plants that as soon as you see a picture of them you say, “I must have that.” I have a list of these, my ‘wants’ list, that never seems to get any shorter. Does anyone else have the same problem? Of course these are nurserymen who prey on people like me, putting […]

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The First Of Many

If people were asked what is the first bulb to flower in the spring, many would probably say a snowdrop. Some narcissus varieties such as ‘Cedric Morris’ and ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ are quick off the mark too, but the first bulb in my garden to open a flower is colchicum hungaricum ‘Album’. No more than […]

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Do not adjust your set

We think of bulbs flowering in the spring, but there are many that have evolved to bloom at other times of the year to cope with the local climate. In the Peloponnese in southern Greece, crocuses, colchicums, cyclamen, sterbergias and even a snowdrop flower in the autumn months to take advantage of the rain after […]

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Flowers the colour of autumn

When we think of autumn, we mainly think of changing foliage – all those reds and russets and oranges. There are also the mauve and pink asters, bright red hesperanthas (that used to be schizostylis), and the startling pink nerines. Orange flowers are a bit in short supply but here is a little bulbous perennial […]

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