Cool foliage and egg shells

  There is no doubt that on a hot July day, it is extraordinarily restful to the eye to come across a swath of large leaves amidst all the visual bustle and vibrancy of flowers and smaller leaves. We almost require them, in order to make it all work: they act as an anchor, a backdrop and a foil, and it is easy to overlook this when planning a border. There are so many choices for foliage, but the bergenia in my photograph (B ciliata) has already given me much pleasure in March, when its beautiful little pink flowers...

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The Growbags’ War of the Roses

I don’t really like roses ….. only kidding, I know that to even murmur any sort of criticism against this national gardening treasure is a treasonable offence tantamount to suggesting that the queen isn’t quite pulling her weight nowadays or that Adele is just a teensy bit overweight. But there are roses and then there are roses and I think I am allowed to have a preference for one sort over another, whilst still acknowledging that overall they are, like Holly Willoughby, a bountiful gift sent down from heaven to adorn our lives. I personally don’t think you can...

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Geranium pratense ‘Southease Celestial’

After I bought this geranium (from the marvellous Marchants Hardy Plants), and watched it transform into a celestial cloud of powder blue the following year, I felt I needed to visit it’s place of origin, so this took me to the tiny village of Southease lying due south of Lewes in East Sussex, tucked away in a beautiful corner of the South Downs National Park. Southease holds an annual plant fair on the green, and also hosts an open gardens day. So despite its size (population approx 50), it has many attractions not least a beautiful 12th century church...

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Gardening Heroes – it takes all types

Can you remember the exact moment when you realised gardening wasn’t boring? I ask the question as I have watched young adults recently realise that politics isn’t boring when their country’s parliament is apparently an asylum run by lunatics. Nor is gardening – for me it was a comment in an obscure book that the world would be a better place if every Weigela bush was piled high on a bonfire and burnt that made me sit up. Now I personally have nothing against Weigelas and actually grow a good one in my garden now called ‘Bristol Ruby’ but it...

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