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. […]Read more "Getting Physic-al"
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 […]Read more "Sumptuous and Hardy"
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 […]Read more "An unlikely aster"
Lobelia – a blue annual used in hanging baskets. There are also some perennial ones that often don’t survive the winter due to a combination of cold and wet conditions. This includes the variety ‘Queen Victoria’ with purple leaves and scarlet flowers that both gardeners and snails find irresistible. Then there’s another member of the […]Read more "It’s a lobelia, Jim, but not as we know 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 […]Read more "Is it or isn’t it?"
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 […]Read more "Mexican A to Z"
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 […]Read more "Ugly Nose"