Ageratina ligustrina AGM

This unusual, autumn flowering shrub used to be known as Eupatorium ligustrinum and for once I am happy to see a plant renamed. Eupatorium are known to be a faintly thuggish lot and the idea of one with privet type leaves was not appealing. However Ageratina ligustrina is neither thuggish, nor does it bear anything but a passing resemblance to a privet. Above shiny, neat, slightly pointy leaves, the flat heads of tiny, white flowers cover this dainty evergreen shrub from September through October and on sunny days butterflies and bees will descend en masse to enjoy one of their

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Symphyotrichum ericoides ‘Deep Danziger’ and other asters

There are certain genera that simply must be seen in flower before you buy them, and asters (or symphyotrichum as many of them have now become) are on that list. It is oh-so-easy to be swayed by glowing descriptions on labels or in catalogues, only to find that the colour and/or height weren’t quite what you were expecting, or that the habit is disappointing. There is no substitute for seeing the actual plant, talking to the person who has grown it, and there is no better place to do that than at a good plant fair. One of the best is held at Great

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Vitis vinifera ‘Brant’

I have come to love autumn more as I get older; and for a gardener, extending the season through October and into November, it helps to reduce that dreaded void until January when the first snowdrops, hellebore flowers and other excitements emerge. Although it is essentially a grape vine, the primary point of growing Vitis ‘Brant’ is for its amazing and vibrant autumn colours which are all shades of deep crimson, red, purple, orange and yellow with green veins running through. If you like your grapes small, sweetish and with seeds, then these are an added bonus, and they are

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