10 Summer Stalwarts

It’s that time of the year when you need to rely on a core backbone of plants to burst onto the scene and provide volume and colour through the hottest months. Here in the south east where each summer seems to be warmer and drier than the last (sorry Caroline but it was your choice to live in Scotland….) we canny gardeners have had evolve our midsummer plant choices to include some newer drought tolerant introductions. 1. Veronicastrum. If you have an open airy spot you really can’t beat these North American prairie plants that build systematically through early summer and...

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Digitalis ferruginea AGM – ‘Rusty foxglove’

This foxglove is a jewel! I know I’m on to a winner when each time I pass a plant I find myself stopping and staring at the wonder of it, and my selection this week is no exception. It is also an absolute magnet for every passing bee which just adds to the interest The ‘Rusty foxglove’ is more likely to be a short-lived perennial than a biennial and can be encouraged to behave as one by cutting back the spent stem right down to the basal rosette. However, do leave at least one seed head and you may...

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Grow-How Tips for July

Once July really kicks in, the goodies keep coming if you’ve done all your earlier spadework – early crops to pick, fruit ripening and flowers everywhere! But no time to rest on your laurels – let’s have a go at pruning the plum trees, taking semi-ripe cuttings and harvesting courgettes, amongst other jobs ……. PRUNING THE PLUM TREES There’s a nasty disease that plum trees are prone to, called Silver Leaf.  If you see a silvery sheen on any leaves or a purple-white fungus on the branches, you must remove those branches immediately before the whole tree succumbs. The...

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Trending now: a tropical garden make-over

Whether it’s our warming planet or the welcome introduction of new cultures to our society, interest in creating a ‘tropical’ or hot weather garden is definitely ‘in’.  As you would expect I’m way ahead of my sisters here, having spent 10 years on a project in Madeira, so let me share some tips…. First, create the right microclimate. Tall boundary plants will enclose your space, trap the humidity and set the backdrop. You could invest in some Trachycarpus fortunei palms but they are pricey so why not try large pots of the magnificently structural tree dahlia Dahlia imperialis. Growing to over eight foot...

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