Carex testacea – New Zealand hair sedge

Like a constant friend who goes way back, so does my plant this week. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, always there in a pot outside the front door, giving me pleasure each time I pass, and it’s also a terrific foil to other plants. Evergreen and seemingly never having an off-day, it is the warm coppery orange leaves that make this grass so compelling, whose subtle colour-changes through each season prevent it from becoming boring. However, it is at this time of the year when the sun’s evening rays come slanting through the arching...

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Alnwick Castle Gardens, Northumberland

You’d have to be even more culturally illiterate than me to be unaware that Alnwick Castle featured as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films but you might not know how absolutely wizard its gardens are. Now, the heart of a keen gardener might sink a little at the prospect of a garden attached to such a global tourist attraction and in truth the frankly amazing water feature, zany mazes, talking trees and vast treehouse restaurant are a little as though Disneyworld had a baby with the Palace of Versailles, but believe me, it’s high calibre fun. Alnwick crouches just...

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Grow-How Tips for Mid-August

So how’s it all going for you?! In this year of peculiar weather, many of us will have been in unknown territory – how have our plants fared through a bitter late winter, a sopping spring, and now a roasting summer?  Strange botanical goings-on, worthy of The X-Files (cue the spooky music) but regardless, a gardener’s work is never done…. TAKING STOCK August is a great time to walk slowly round your garden with a notebook and pen and look critically at everything.  Make a note of plant-combinations that look fabulous even if they were inadvertent (mine very often are!),...

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Top tips for going potty

This summer’s weather has proved that gardening isn’t a great hobby for control freaks. You really just have to go with the flow and sometimes this delivers, as Louise’s plant of the moment demonstrates, and sometimes it doesn’t. But put a plant in a pot and suddenly you have much greater power over its destiny. And some plants genuinely do seem to do much better if removed from the hurly burly of the garden and given some personalised TLC (actually who doesn’t? )  Here are some of my top tips for plants that thrive in pots: Fig trees –...

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