Wild Senna

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 […]

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Delightful but deadly

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 […]

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Nice flowers, shame about the roots

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 […]

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I found some seeds

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 […]

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Serendipity

Sometimes a plant arrives in the garden in just the right place. While the vast majority of unplanned arrivals are weeds, just occasionally something unexpectedly pops up that warrants inclusion, something we hadn’t bargained for, but which is just right. There is a local park at the bottom of my road. Originally a small Victorian […]

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Little Black Number

How many plants have black flowers? Not many. On closer examination, many that are claimed to have black flowers actually have blooms that are dark red or deep purple. One such plant is iris chrysographes In late May, stems up to two and a half feet tall suddenly race up between the grey-green foliage of […]

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Cherry and Lilac

Spring is all about bulbs. Snowdrops, crocus, narcissus, hyacinths, tulips – there are bulbs everywhere you look, responding to the warmth and moisture of spring. But many small woodland perennials are putting on an early display as well, making the most of the light available before the tree canopy takes over. Omphalodes cappadocica is a […]

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