How do climbers hang on?

As the weather has turned bitterly cold, nothing new is coming into flower just now, so I have decided to start looking at the way plants grow and their possible uses in the garden. From time to time, I get asked for recommendations for a climber that don’t need support. This may sound like a contradiction […]

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A Rainbow in December

Those of us with acidic soil have the advantage of some of being able to grow the best spring-flowering shrubs and trees – camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons. For those with less favourable conditions, even smaller varieties can be grown in ericaceous compost in large containers. But there is a camellias species that means you don’t […]

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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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