Rosa ‘Sally Holmes’ A.G.M.

Laura knows a good rose when she sees one! A few years ago she spotted a neglected specimen which was just about surviving near an aircraft hangar at Shoreham airport. It was autumn, the perfect time to take rose cuttings, and they thrived. She gave one to me and we all called it Rosa ‘Shoreham Airport’ until some time later I spotted it growing in a friend’s garden in London … and there was the label still on the shrub. Once seen, never forgotten, it is the most beautiful rose, bred by Robert Holmes in the UK, named after...

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On the hunt for magnolias

Every area of RHS Wisley garden in Surrey has  ‘its moment’ some time in the year so it was with great intent that I set off last Sunday to take my annual tour around Battleston Hill, principally to look at magnolias. Unsurprisingly for this spring, it was wet, but en route to Battleston Hill there were some enchanting cameos of little groups of plants glistening with raindrops, such as these charming little sanguinarias nestling by the wall beneath the alpine glasshouses. And then these trilliums with their leaves washed clean. We entered Battleston Hill from the top, through the collection...

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Still time to go on Wisley’s Winter Walk

If you’re already a member of the Royal Horticultural Society you’ll know that besides its internationally renowned Chelsea Flower Show each May, a more permanent jewel in its crown is the RHS garden at Wisley, just off the M25 in balmy south-east England – and luckily a manageable drive from my house. I’ve been visiting for over 30 years. Today it’s  reputation makes it a magnet for Londoners looking for a horticultural fix and the RHS has responded by continuing to invest in this truly phenomenal garden. I’d love to keep you up to date with the latest £160m...

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Artemisia lactiflora ‘Elfenbein’

I say the word ‘artemisia’, and immediately springs to my mind the many silver-leaved forms that I already have in our garden. These are abrotanum, ludoviciana, absinthium, and pontica to name but a few, and the family also includes A dracunculus (French tarragon). Often aromatic, and with finely divided, decorative foliage, they are a useful family to know. A few years ago I came across A lactiflora Ghizou Group and it looked startlingly different with its purple flushed, dark green foliage and striking, tall, creamy white flowers in midsummer. More recently I added today’s special plant, A lactiflora ‘Elfenbein’...

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