Gifts that grow on you – or not!

What is a garden exactly? Can you have a ‘garden’ without a human element? You perhaps know that the etymology of the word is ‘enclosure’ (Middle English from Anglo-French and Old High German), but an enclosure of what?  One thing for sure is that it is a heck of a lot more than just plants.  There are stories everywhere, layer upon layer, about the provenance of the plants, and they add immeasurably to the pleasure of anyone deeply involved in the creation of their outdoor space. You do usually remember who gave you what. I will certainly remember that...

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Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’

There is a faint lull in our garden in the middle of June, many summer flowering plants are poised for the next act, but right now Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ is the show-stopper. It has been flowering for several weeks already and will continue to do so for many more to come … and it is truly eye catching. Three or four years ago I decided to test out a few different penstemons, so I bought plug plants, probably 20 or so different ones. Already, by the second season, ‘Dark Towers’ had filled the top slot, no question. It is...

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Grow-How Tips for June

What a wonderful time of year this is! The longest day is around the corner and summer is beckoning us on. It’s no hardship to be out in the garden pottering and here are some of the jobs you could be doing: YOU AND EUPHORBIAS Euphorbias have been delighting us through the spring with their zingy flowers, but it’s time now to cut off the flowered stems right down to the bottom. This will encourage the lovely glaucous foliage to expand and ripen ready to carry the flowers next spring. Please, please use gloves for this job, even if...

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Gardens, tea and above all, CAKE!

June is prime time for brilliant gardeners and barmily generous householders to throw open the gates to their gorgeous borders; home-made water features and adorable cats. It’s garden visiting season! Never mind the perfect show gardens of Chelsea, this is when you can find out how your neighbours tackle ground elder, and what return they get on their solar panels. Also, just how much early evening drinking is going on in British gardens. Every garden we visited on Sunday revolved around the nucleus of two chairs, table + BBQ console. Have we all been immersed in a summer sozzle-fest...

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