Solanum laxum ‘Creche du Pape’

I love the potato family (Solanaceae), and while two of them are already great favourites, this one is relatively new to me and it’s very exciting to see it in flower in its first year. If you search for it online you will immediately spot discrepancies in the name, (and why on earth would the pope need a crèche?!) but I’m going to stick with the most commonly used. As a family they are a generous lot, their growth is exuberant and they don’t stint on flowers. S. crispum ‘Glasnevin’ AGM, known as the Chilean potato tree, is more...

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Colour – symphony or screech?

When my sisters said that they were going to come over to France for a couple of days, I jumped at the chance to show them what I had been up to in my rather rampageous Normandy garden.  In the event, they found out why this part of Europe is so green – the rainstorms verged on the biblical and the howling gales made Caroline feel she was back at home in Scotland.. In the four minutes or so that it wasn’t actually pelting, we wandered about discussing the fairly fundamental question of which plants look good together and...

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Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Erika’

One of the great pleasures towards the end of a holiday is to anticipate my first stroll around the garden upon our return. A week’s absence allows us to look at it all with fresh eyes, to enjoy the subtle changes, to notice the first flowers on an old favourite reappearing. This week Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Erika’ stands out for me; partly because much of the rest of the garden is in ‘green’ mode, waiting for the late summer flowers to start in earnest. But ‘Erika’ is more than just colour, it adds elegance and structure to the whole border,...

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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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