Is it or isn’t it?

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 […]

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Mexican A to Z

I first came across amicia zygomeris when visiting a garden in Burghfield, Berkshire. ‘Interesting plant,’ I thought, ‘but it can’t possibly be hardy.’ There was a small plant for sale, but I left it on the sales table. Fast forward twelve months. The plant had gnawed away at me until I looked it up on […]

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Ugly Nose

Blue flowered plants are always at a premium in the garden, and just now one is providing a good dollop of bright blue, an unusual colour for this late in the year. Salvia uliginosa (or bog sage to give its common name), comes from the east side of South America, where it grows in swamps and […]

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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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Willow gentians

While we think of gentians as alpine plants, there are a few exceptions that grow too big for the alpine bed. Gentiana asclepiadea, the willow gentian, is one of these taller varieties. . Native to central and Eastern Europe, the willow gentian’s home patch is mountain woodland. Here, in soils that are permanently moist but not […]

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Gingering up the Border

Do you ‘do’ orange in the garden? It can be a difficult colour to place, especially if you like the pastel shades – white, pink or pale blue. But with so much yellow flying around just now (heleniums, rudbeckias and sunflowers for example), a shot of orange can work well. Or mix it with cool […]

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