Clematis viticella ‘Étoile Violette’ AGM

I made a happy accidental choice when I planted ‘Étoile Violette’ at the foot of our Amelanchier lamarckii: at the time, I hadn’t realised that for many reasons it was the perfect clematis for growing in a large shrub or small tree. Now, our snowy mespilus never looks dull, but there are certain shrubs that, however stunning in flower, look drab for the rest of the year (lilac, wintersweet, viburnum to name but a few) and these are ideal candidates for the viticella partnership. ‘Étoile Violette’ is quite simply, an outstanding, undemanding and generously free-flowering cultivar that with its slightly...

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Grow How Tips for early July

Now the gorgeous lazy summer days have arrived our gardening tasks are mostly of the gentler and easier kind – hurray! So let’s get going on some deadheading, planting for later summer colour and thinning fruit among other jobs……. DEADHEAD FOR A BETTER BED! One of my favourite summer tasks is to wander among the flower beds at this time of year with my beloved little Spear & Jackson sécateurs and snip off the wilting flower-heads, particularly of roses but plenty of other things as well – foxgloves, sweetpeas, marigolds, phlox…..and a host of others. After a spell of heavy...

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Do you need a greenhouse?

As you get more into gardening you may start daydreaming about a greenhouse to maximise your horticultural potential, but will this be a sound investment or a white elephant? Perhaps a greenhouse isn’t what you need, and a sunny porch, cold frame or a full blown orangerie is the structure that will make your garden dreams come true. I think you need to be quite clear from the outset about what you want to achieve. Do you want to grow early veg, over-winter tender perennials, bring on half-hardy annuals or simply have a sunny bolthole to escape to with...

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Allium ‘Spider’

There are alliums, and then there is Allium ‘Spider’; and I fell for mine on a damp, grey October day as I was looking through a row of boxes of bulbs hoping to find a little treat to lift the spirits as November loomed! To be fair, it was the photograph above the box that did it for me, and immediately gave me that ‘I must have some of those’ feeling. The price did seem a little eye-watering at the time, but I have not for a moment regretted my purchase of three, which set me back the cost...

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