Thermopsis lanceolata

On bank holiday Monday a neighbour asked me to take a look at a plant in her garden that wasn’t thriving (a seven year old Euphorbia characias… time to take it out!), and while I was there, she pointed out her Thermopsis montana and exclaimed how much she loved it but in the same breath, what an absolute thug it was, even invading her lawn! I had to agree with her, although it is by no means number one on the nuisance list. I was therefore very happy indeed to be able to introduce her to its close relative and...

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Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’

We originally planted this eye catching and bountiful shrub by default. I had been after an obscure shade loving shrub whose name I have long forgotten, so when this bare rooted, twiggy plant arrived (out of leaf) in late winter, in it went and I didn’t give it further thought. Until that is, I spotted the first pearl-like buds appearing in early spring and followed soon after by an abundance of snowy white flowers which had a very long season. I quickly realised that we had been sent the wrong plant, but I didn’t care; our Exochorda is one...

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Bellevalia romana

My head tells me that I should be writing about one of the many spring flowering shrubs that are looking so stunning right now, but my heart tells me to go for this beautiful yet seldom seen bulb that is such an eye-catching plant despite being quite small (8”-10”), and one that fits seamlessly into the spring tapestry. Over the years I have bought many interesting plants from Marina Christopher (Phoenix Perennial Plants), and this is one of them; having just looked up the date of purchase in my garden book, I notice that this was back in 2006!...

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Primula ‘Dark Rosaleen’

This cultivar, bred in the 1980’s by an Irishman named Joe Kennedy, is a beautiful, strong growing, hardy primula, and having chosen it this week as my special plant, I wanted to find out where the name originated. I uncovered more than one explanation, but the one that fits for me was being named after the poem of the same title by James Clarence Mangan, written in 1846: a dark year in Irish history. Being such a good doer, ‘Dark Rosaleen’ is the perfect primula for me because it doesn’t need cosseting. When I first bought it many years...

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