All keen gardeners look foward to the new year with a sense of anticipation. Early spring sorts the optimists from the pessimists – those who look foward to the first blooms, welcoming the frontrunners in the flowering calendar, and those who decry their precociousness, heaping doom and destruction from the fickle weather on their temerity […]Read more "By George, he’s tough"
November is not a great time of year. The weather closes in, the days are getting shorter, and we are bombarded with Christmas adverts (the first one I saw this year was in June!!). So anything that ventures into flower just now is extremely welcome. Iris unguicularis (formely known as I. stylosa) hails from Algeria […]Read more "Algerian iris"
Grasses are ‘in’. With the current fashion for naturalistic planting, grasses play an increasing role, coming into their own as the days shorten. From large miscanthus cultivars to the diminuitive stipa tenuissima, there is something suitable for every plot. Many have very fine seedheads, but finding one with bulkier ones on a smaller plant is […]Read more "Fountain Grass"
Blue flowers are not common at the best of times, but by autumn you could be forgiven for thinking this colour has disappeared from nature’s pallete. Even those nursery descriptions of “violet-blue” asters often turn out to be a wishy-washy mauve. But there are still a few plants carrying this most un-antumnal of colours. By […]Read more "Autumn blues"
My garden has been open under The National Garden Scheme for several years, raising money for charities. We have opened early in the season a couple of times, but never had a late opening. This year we decided to rectify that and picked a date in mid August – we could have picked a better […]Read more "Wild Senna"
Here in the UK, we have had the hottest summer for over forty years. In June and July, temperatures hit 32C (anything over 25C is considered “hot”) and no rain for nine weeks. How did gardens fare? Well that depends on the garden – and the gardener. My garden ethos has always been “right plant, […]Read more "An uncommonly good grass"
You’ve probably heard of the spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum) and the summer snowflake (L. aestivum). But did you know there is also an autumn snowflake? Originally named L. autumnale, this is now known as Acis autumnalis. The autumn snowflake comes from the western end of the Mediterranean, growing on stony hillsides and other rocky places. The flowers […]Read more "Autumn snowflake"
I love aconitums. They provide columns of blue flowers, are nowhere near as demanding as delphiniums, and are untouched by slugs. Some people are put off growing them because they are poisonous, but so are daffodil bulbs which they will quite happily plant in drifts. I’ve been growing aconitums for several years now and am […]Read more "Delightful but deadly"
As well as pollinating insects, some flowers are especially popular with butterflies. Buddleias attract them in August, while sedum spectabile draws them in the following month. In July, their favourite appears to be inula hookeri. Inulas belong to the asteracae family whose daisy flowers are always popular with insects. Inula hookeri has narrow, lemon yellow ray florets […]Read more "Nice flowers, shame about the roots"
Nearly ten years ago, I found a packet of five seeds in a box. I’ve no idea where they came from, but they were labelled lathyrus latifolius, the everlasting pea. According to Wikipedia, it is also known as the perennial peavine, perennial pea, and broad-leaved everlasting-pea. With nothing to lose, I soaked the seeds for 24 hours before […]Read more "I found some seeds"