When is a hedge not a hedge?

“Garden rooms” are in the “in” thing with garden designers. Big plot? Make it seem bigger by dividing it into garden rooms. Long thin plot? Disguise the length by dividing it into garden rooms. These garden rooms are all very well, but what about their “walls”? You could put up a fence or trellis and […]

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Glad all over

Gladiolus – those brash, showy, top-heavy spikes of flowers, often seen at flower shows but rarely in gardens these days. Well yes, there are those, but there also the specie gladioli, smaller, more subtle, and sometimes hardy enough to be left in the ground over winter. Growing from corms, gladioli are found in Asia, Mediterranean Europe, […]

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Kiwis and cats

Actinidia kolomikta is a deciduous woody scrambler/twiner growing 25 to 30 feet. What sets it apart and makes it an attractive garden plant is the foliage, ovate-oblong and six inches long, marked with pink and white variegation once the plant is two to three years old. Discovered in the mid nineteenth century, actinidia kolomikta was soon being […]

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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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Crown Imperials

If bluebells are synonymous with Britain, crown imperials must surely be synonymous with Iran – they grow everywhere. In sun or shade, on open hillsides or rocky crevices, their orange flowers are abundant in early spring. Orange flowers are dominant in the wild. Even in the Dasht-e Laleh valley, where thousands of them grow, there are no […]

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Some heritage daffodils

Those who live in the UK may remember two series of programmes on the BBC called “The Great British Garden Revival.” One of them featured Carol Klein extolling the virtues of heritage varieties of daffodils, some of which have naturalised in the hedgerows of Cornwall, a county that used to grow them for the early cut […]

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