Was Prosecco the undoing of Princess Kate at Chelsea?

We’re all off to glorious Chelsea Flower Show this week. Here are five things I love about it: 1. It’s completely mad. How ridiculous to virtually dig up and re landscape an area of our capital city simply for a flower show. I just love that we do it every year. 2. It’s  in a  trendy part of London. For country bumpkins like us there is still something exciting  about the Chelsea embankment. It makes us feel cosmopolitan. 3. The camaraderie you sense on every part of your journey. You can spot fellow show goers on the train, fingering their show

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Peonies pile on the pleasure of early summer

What a gladsome thing a peony is!  Peonies are the ‘over-the-tops’ of late spring and early summer from the buxom ‘officinalis’ beauties so often seen in cottage gardens to the glamorous ‘suffruticosa’ tree peonies with their sumptuous blooms. About 12 years ago, I fell for one of these in a garden-centre; it’s called Handaijin (very dully translated as ‘Minister of Flowers’  – hang on, that’s quite a good idea for the next time we have a Cabinet Reshuffle”…) , it is now six feet tall, with the most beautiful grey/pink leaves preceding lots of frankly unbelievable dinner-plate sized flowers of bright reddish-purple.  (I see

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Euphorbias: the Dave or Boris dilemma

Summer’s arrived and it’s hard to believe that two weeks ago we were battling through driving snow in Scotland. It’s been grisly and if I was wondering quite why I was lifting turf to create a new shady bed  in nose-drippingly awful temperatures last month, the new plants were even more distraught. They spent the next four weeks  literally horizontal, fighting for their lives – all apart from the plucky Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Robbiae’ – which remained stalwartly unbowed throughout it all. What fabulous plants euphorbias are, and a bigger selection of them than there is of gin – and that’s saying something these

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