Growbags advice: Invest in a hedge fund

Yes we’re on hedges this week. Not only is it coming on the perfect time of the year to plant them, but also they’re in the news because apparently they ‘suck up’ a good deal more pollution than trees in our cities. I like this no-nonsense approach to their role. It chimes with our attitude to hedges in Scotland. We generally grow them for one purpose – wind protection. And don’t imagine I’m talking about the scented, excitingly bird-nest laden mixed hedging of our West Sussex childhood (well Laura and I found the birds’ nests exciting – Elaine had her...

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Gomphostigma virgatum

At first glance, this elegant, upright, small shrub looks as if it would revel in a dry sunny spot, much where you would expect to grow lavender and rosemary. You would imagine that its silver grey leaves and tiny white flowers would sit happily in a typical Mediterranean habitat. Well, it didn’t take long to discover that this plant originates in southern Africa … and guess what? It mostly grows along river banks and watercourses! I raised my plants from seed and planted them out the following spring. I am ashamed to admit that, at the time, I didn’t...

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The Growbags grass each other up

The end of August and all of a sudden, you notice the grasses which have been slowly developing among the flamboyant late summer flowers.  They were made incredibly trendy a few years ago by the groovy horticultural guru Piet Oudolf and steadily even small back gardens were filling up with wafting groups of Miscanthus and Calamagrostis.  Now, I am happy to shock people on occasions (only yesterday, I appalled our judgemental children by binging on three consecutive episodes of Poldark and a whole box of Milk Tray), and, candidly, I get tremendously bored with ranks of swaying grass, which looked completely alien...

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Artemisia lactiflora ‘Elfenbein’

I say the word ‘artemisia’, and immediately springs to my mind the many silver-leaved forms that I already have in our garden. These are abrotanum, ludoviciana, absinthium, and pontica to name but a few, and the family also includes A dracunculus (French tarragon). Often aromatic, and with finely divided, decorative foliage, they are a useful family to know. A few years ago I came across A lactiflora Ghizou Group and it looked startlingly different with its purple flushed, dark green foliage and striking, tall, creamy white flowers in midsummer. More recently I added today’s special plant, A lactiflora ‘Elfenbein’...

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