New garden features – be careful what you wish for!

Like Mole burrowing up to the sunlight at the start of Wind in the Willows, the Easter weekend will see millions of us driven by Darwinian forces to tackle ‘THE GARDEN’. It’s preternatural. It’s what we do in between complaining that winter will never end and buying a gas barbecue because it’s tipped to be the hottest summer ev….er. I bet a lot of Growbag readers are preparing right now to create a border; put in an arch; construct decking etc . That was me last Easter when, despite driving sleet, I lifted turf and made a flower bed....

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Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ AGM

MARCH Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ AGM In this most magical of months when there is so much happening in the garden, I want to put in a word for a member of the currant family. Again, all too often the only one available, and therefore most often seen, is the very drab pink R sanguineum. You could look out for Ribes ‘Pulborough Scarlet’ which, as its name suggests, does have very striking deep pink blooms, but my favourite is the one with snow white flowers. Interestingly, almost everywhere you read about ‘White Icicle’, it says ‘full sun’. Well this...

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Sowing seeds: mollycoddling versus tough love

As with most hobbies you can choose the level of challenge you wish to set yourself when it comes to gardening. Take seed sowing for example: you can choose just to sprinkle annual seeds onto the bare ground in March or April and rake them in, or germinate some tomato plants on your kitchen windowsill – even Caroline managed this last year. So many fantastic plants are still hard to source – but you can raise yourself from seed – such as the truly stunning Bergenia chosen by Louise for her Great Plant this Month. There is something quite magical...

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Bergenia emeiensis

MARCH: Bergenia emeiensis. Bergenia emeiensis Bergenia ciliata The name Bergenia might provoke a little shudder in some people, so I hope my photograph has instantly caught your attention, because this one is about as far as one can get from the murky pinky purple offerings most commonly seen in spring. B emeiensis is a compact, hardy, evergreen plant; a species with pure white, elegant flowers on pinkish stems, above shiny mid green leaves that are more oval than wide. It does not need any special attention; indeed mine is on the edge of a raised bed and could be...

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