Social climbers or rampant pests?

There are two ways you can achieve a last hurrah in your garden from late summer climbers: perennials or annuals. In the wild climbers rely on the support of other plants to reach up to the light so are naturally gregarious creatures, happy to mix in with whatever plant populations already exist in your garden providing they are getting a leg up in life. I don’t have much time for annual climbers, ipomoea, thunbergia and the like;  they require too much cosseting and then only produce something rather weak and spindly that is starting to go yellow at the base just

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Solanum laxum ‘Creche du Pape’

I love the potato family (Solanaceae), and while two of them are already great favourites, this one is relatively new to me and it’s very exciting to see it in flower in its first year. If you search for it online you will immediately spot discrepancies in the name, (and why on earth would the pope need a crèche?!) but I’m going to stick with the most commonly used. As a family they are a generous lot, their growth is exuberant and they don’t stint on flowers. S. crispum ‘Glasnevin’ AGM, known as the Chilean potato tree, is more of

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Colour – symphony or screech?

When my sisters said that they were going to come over to France for a couple of days, I jumped at the chance to show them what I had been up to in my rather rampageous Normandy garden.  In the event, they found out why this part of Europe is so green – the rainstorms verged on the biblical and the howling gales made Caroline feel she was back at home in Scotland.. In the four minutes or so that it wasn’t actually pelting, we wandered about discussing the fairly fundamental question of which plants look good together and which

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