Plectranthus argentatus AGM

Plectranthus are members of the Lamiaceae or mint family, and they’re my latest craze. All species are tender and are really valuable subjects for container growing, not only for the highly ornamental value of their foliage, but also because many are happiest grown in part shade and some in almost full shade. Even P. argentatus, with its silver grey leaves (which usually indicates a love of undiluted sunshine), does best for me with a little shade especially at the hottest time of the day. The soft velvety leaves alone are reason enough to give it pride of place in any...

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Lindisfarne Castle Gardens, Northumberland

If you like your garden visiting to be a little magical, a little bit mysterious, to be something you want to go back to, to see if it was really real, go to Lindisfarne on Holy Island. Designed by the legendary Gertrude Jekyll over a century ago, it is no more than 30 x 50 metres inside a wall on a bare, North Sea headland. Owned by the National Trust the path to it across grassland is wholly unpromising. You may imagine it’s a broken down sheep fank until you go through its small gate. But I’m getting ahead...

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Grow-How Tips for September

We’ve been lucky enough to stay on in Normandy for longer than other summers (oh how I’m loving retirement!), but the climate isn’t very different from most of England. It’s been windy here too admittedly, but nothing like this week’s damaging gales in Scotland (sorry to hear about that, Caroline). Our big pond is very low, though, and the garden is crying out for a few day’s solid rain.  Still, let’s get on with a few tasks while we are waiting for that to happen……. STUDYING DIVISION AND MULTIPLICATION I could never make head nor tail of these topics in maths at school...

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Ageing gracefully the Growbag way

I am still smarting from a passing comment a stranger who thought Caroline and I looked similar, ‘were we sisters, or perhaps mother and daughter?’ The cheek of it! It must have been Caroline’s  pink leggings and silver trainers compared to my more tasteful attire that prompted this observation (think Joan Collins versus Judi Dench) but it set me thinking about how some humans and plants age more gracefully than others.  The wild clematis, Clematis vitalba, which thrives on the chalk soils of the South Downs (and is known locally as ‘travellers joy’ ) is one such. Small, creamy, nodding...

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