Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – it sounds impressive and given the complexity of its funding masters (and its structure – RBGE actually comprises four gardens in Scotland), the Edinburgh garden does a jolly good job of fulfilling expectations. Fact: it’s big – 70 acres. You can spend a good afternoon getting round it – and it’s completely free to go in! You’ll enjoy the walk from the city centre – 30 minutes or so will do it, handy since there isn’t a car park  – but it’s fairly easy to get onto a meter on one of the...

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Dahlias: too dire to dare?

Still not sure about dahlias…..they were originally brought into the country as a food source, their tubers to be cooked as a culinary root vegetable and there are still times when I feel this might be their finest use. James Wong has an interesting recipe for dahlia fritters but the thought of grating the Bishop of Llandaff with some onions and frying him up in a pan is akin to the discovery that spit roast guinea pigs are a barbecue delicacy in Peru. So what is the problem with dahlias as a garden plant? Is it their awkward outline...

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Cool foliage and egg shells

  There is no doubt that on a hot July day, it is extraordinarily restful to the eye to come across a swath of large leaves amidst all the visual bustle and vibrancy of flowers and smaller leaves. We almost require them, in order to make it all work: they act as an anchor, a backdrop and a foil, and it is easy to overlook this when planning a border. There are so many choices for foliage, but the bergenia in my photograph (B ciliata) has already given me much pleasure in March, when its beautiful little pink flowers...

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The Growbags’ War of the Roses

I don’t really like roses ….. only kidding, I know that to even murmur any sort of criticism against this national gardening treasure is a treasonable offence tantamount to suggesting that the queen isn’t quite pulling her weight nowadays or that Adele is just a teensy bit overweight. But there are roses and then there are roses and I think I am allowed to have a preference for one sort over another, whilst still acknowledging that overall they are, like Holly Willoughby, a bountiful gift sent down from heaven to adorn our lives. I personally don’t think you can...

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