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"
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"
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"
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 […]Read more "Serendipity"
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 […]Read more "Little Black Number"
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 […]Read more "Cherry and Lilac"
While some plants pine away and die in our gardens, others become a pestilential weed. They either have roots that run, sending up new growth anywhere there is space or among precious neighbours, or are prolific self-seeders. Or worse still, both. Plants that are intent on world domination, starting with your back yard. I have […]Read more "Getting it wrong"