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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Highdown Garden – Worthing

Highdown Gardens isn’t your usual garden visit. When Sir Frederick Stern was looking for a safe curator for the eclectic range of plants he had successfully established in a chalk pit above Worthing on the Sussex Coast he eschewed what might have been the more natural choice of the National Trust (they must be spitting teeth), or even, given the uniqueness of his collection, Kew Gardens, and left the garden instead to the stalwart care of Worthing Borough Council. So essentially this rare botanical collection is really just a town park, which has both bonuses and drawbacks. It is...

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