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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Rare plants – a common Growbag weakness

We knew, we just knew that we were going to have a good day at the Great Dixter Plant Fair when we pulled into a field to find Fergus Garrett himself, Head Gardener Extraordinaire, helping to get the cars parked. Laura and I had persuaded our game husbands (terrifically useful for carrying bags) to come with us, while our younger sister was flying back from a sun-soaked week in Italy. Must have been ghastly for her. We had had a beautiful drive through the early autumn countryside of East Sussex to get there, and the low October sunshine cheered the

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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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