Autumn snowflake

You’ve probably heard of the spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum) and the summer snowflake (L. aestivum). But did you know there is also an autumn snowflake? Originally named L. autumnale, this is now known as Acis autumnalis. The autumn snowflake comes from the western end of the Mediterranean, growing on stony hillsides and other rocky places. The flowers […]

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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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Firing Up For Summer

At a cursory glance, the hedgerows of eastern South America do not look too dissimilar from those back home. but then a flash of orange makes you aware you are seeing something different – Embothrium lanceolata, the Chilean Firebush Growing in the Andes, this has proved hardier than E. coccineum, a lowland species with broader leaves. But it […]

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