white and pink flowers

Chrysanthemum ‘Innocence’ AGM

For years I fought against growing chrysanthemums, probably influenced by their association with funerals, and with those garish bunches wrapped in coloured cellophane on garage forecourts; but recently and most particularly after growing ‘Innocence’ I have come to appreciate their contribution to our garden at what can be rather a sombre time of year. Who could not enjoy the soft pinky white flowers that welcome me each time I step out of the back door? Flowers that have, last week, weathered and come sailing through -2.8 degrees! ‘Innocence’ is one of the single Korean chrysanthemums, which have been bred over many...

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Diascia personata

For me it is the ultimate cottage garden plant – the thing is, that at any time from late spring until the end of October, I could have chosen the lovely Diascia personata for this slot. Admittedly it can get overlooked in the summer as there is so much competition, but this week it looks simply stunning surrounded by grasses, asters, a beautiful late blue salvia and the fading, autumnal flowerheads of almost everything else. D. personata is a short-lived, semi-evergreen, hardy (H4, but must have sun and good drainage) perennial and it grows happily alongside almost any border companion....

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Plectranthus argentatus AGM

Plectranthus are members of the Lamiaceae or mint family, and they’re my latest craze. All species are tender and are really valuable subjects for container growing, not only for the highly ornamental value of their foliage, but also because many are happiest grown in part shade and some in almost full shade. Even P. argentatus, with its silver grey leaves (which usually indicates a love of undiluted sunshine), does best for me with a little shade especially at the hottest time of the day. The soft velvety leaves alone are reason enough to give it pride of place in any...

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Sanguisorba ‘Pink Brushes’

Like an eccentric but glamorous great aunt, my plant this week is a wonderful example of how to age gracefully! Going grey yes, but losing any other attributes, no! A bit like going to a big family party, I walk into the garden and there she is, you can’t miss her – tall, willowy and colourful; I am thrilled with this new(ish) addition to my autumn border. When I first started gardening I distinctly remember growing salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) in my herb garden. Little did I realise what a large, varied and interesting genus it was, but back then...

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