Polypoduim cambricum ‘Richard Kayse’ AGM

Around about the time that Vermeer was finishing his painting ‘The Astronomer’, and in the year that Spain recognised Portugal as an independent nation, a man named Richard Kayse from Bristol discovered this beautiful fern growing on limestone cliffs near Cardiff. Two centuries later it had disappeared from cultivation, and it was not until another 200 years had passed, in 1980, that fern expert Martin Rickard set out with a pair of binoculars and rediscovered it in the exact same spot, in an area which is now an SSSI: Site of Special Scientific Interest. This beautiful, slowly spreading fern...

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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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