January: less hygge, more hedgecutters

I went over to Laura’s last weekend anticipating an omni-gossip interspersed with bowls of soup and cups of tea, but was summarily appointed to the dreary duty of pulling manky  little leaves off dismal-looking auriculas. Laura does go in for this type of dainty treasure – fascinating in their own way, but more self-regarding than Donald Trump in full …….trump.  I imagine Auricula as the kind of insufferable little girl at school who always had the shiniest shoes and boasted about the nicest holidays, but was frankly too much of a princess to have friends. Now a truly classy plant – and one...

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Clematis cirrhosa

JANUARY Clematis cirrhosa From about the middle of December, the garden takes second place in the order of things; but as soon as the festivities are over I rush outside, keen to see what’s in flower, and to catch up with all our treasures. Planted not far from our back door and therefore always on view to be enjoyed, is the evergreen winter flowering Clematis cirrhosa. It is amazing to see the delicate speckled flowers thriving under such tough conditions and all the more valuable at this time of year. I did have to refer to my gardening diary...

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Althaea Cannabina

Althaea cannabina

LOUISE SIMS WRITES: SEPTEMBER Althaea cannabina I’m all for transparency, and not just in the late summer or early autumn border! Over the last few weeks I have been looking long and hard at such plantings and have come to the conclusion that relentless clumps of Rudbeckia, Helenium, Eupatorium, Persicaria, Ligularia etc, do not always fit with the average garden plot. Okay in a prairie setting maybe, or setting off a public building, many of these plants are simply too dense and too hoggish and before you know it, there is no room for anything else. The trick is...

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Larch Cottage Nurseries – Penrith

If surprise and wonder are your shtick, take 13 minutes out of  your M6 journey north or south and get along to Larch Cottage Nurseries just south of Penrith. I know, it sounds disarmingly underwhelming, and believe me the little terraced cottage entrance compounds the deception, for you have in fact found the horticultural equivalent of J K Rowling’s Platform 12 and three-quarters. It was created by Peter Stott over three decades ago when he was unable to find more unusual plants for his landscaping business. His vision to create a unique visitor experience has, unequivocally, been met. The...

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