Clematis ‘Belle of Woking’

I bought this clematis three years ago, a strong little plant in a 9cm pot and it has never looked back. I mention the size of the pot because I find that these young plants, although by their size are vulnerable and need a bit of extra protection initially, soon romp away and establish well. A bit like planting whips instead of more mature trees. Also, being in such small pots, they are much easier to fit into an already overcrowded bed! So ….. big hole, lots of organic matter and food, a large drink, and a slab on...

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Heuchera ‘Brown Finch’

I am going for ‘subtle’ this week. If you want flamboyance, there is Chelsea! At this time of the year, almost every time I walk round the garden, something new is starting into flower, and naturally my attention is caught by the colour and exuberance of it all: roses, clematis, euphorbia, iris, paeonies … the list is endless. My subject today is not so noticeable, but it has a quiet, dependable presence, and our garden would be the poorer without it. Walk into most garden centres (not nurseries!) and you will be regaled with rows of different heucheras. All those...

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Abutilon vitifolium ‘Veronica Tennant’

Thanks are due to Laura who gave me this beautiful shrub as a small cutting a few years ago. I was already growing A x suntense which has stunning deep bluey purple flowers, but its season is fleeting, whereas ‘Veronica Tennant’ is in bloom from late spring well into the summer. This is a strong growing, upright shrub, much hardier than people might think (quite untouched by the recent -2’ here). The dainty saucer shaped flowers are a good eight centimetres across and bees love them! Abutilon must have full sun, good drainage and a sheltered spot and given...

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Viola labradorica: Syn Viola riviniana – Purpurea Group

Writing these twice monthly pieces, I am always learning something new, and this time I had to look up the exact whereabouts of Labrador. So now I know, and furthermore I understand why this little plant is so resilient, as it also native to Greenland. For me it stands out from other violas on account of its unusual heart shaped, purple flushed foliage which complement the flowers so perfectly. It is an undemanding plant and will seed itself about gently; a little too gently for me, as I could do with a few more, if only to dig up...

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