Grow-How Tips for High Summer

  The summer rolls on, and what a scorcher we’ve had so far! Water-preservation has been the order of the day round here and the drought-tolerant plants have had a field day while much else has struggled. To take your mind off miserable mimulus and such like, here are a few tasks to be getting on with: HELPING THE HERBS I wonder if your herb-patch is starting to look a bit woolly and floppy by now – ours certainly is!  – this is a good time to cut it back and encourage fresh new leaves to form before the end of the summer. Do...

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Who needs rain when you’ve got soapwort?

As in ‘Life’,  amongst garden plants there are winners and there are losers. And then there are those  who diligently graft away in the background until circumstances collude to give them that moment to shine – their Gareth Southgate moment, their Diving Rescue Team moment. So it has been this summer in my garden. There was a moment at the end of May when the living was easy. Warm and wet, the garden bounced back from the grip of the beast and everything seemed almost preternaturally luxuriant, more like a digitally enhanced garden theme park. But global climate change...

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Itea ilicifolia AGM

There’s no doubt that many herbaceous perennials are suffering in this hot dry spell, and although I try to keep watering anything that I have planted this year, those longer established plants just have to survive on their own reserves. However, in the shrub category, there are one or two which seem positively to thrive, to glow even: the most obvious in our garden being the not-so-often-encountered Itea ilicifolia. This hardy evergreen shrub has fresh, mid-green, holly-shaped leaves, and right now it is covered in cool lime-green icicles … exceptionally long and graceful summer catkins which will flower right...

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Grow-How Tips for July

What an amazing run of hot weather we’ve had! And what a lot of opportunities to sit back in a shady nook and admire all your fabulous gardening efforts so far this year. Certainly much of the urgency has gone out of the tasks but for those who don’t like to sit around for long, here are a few ideas to get you up out of your deckchair: TAKING THE PLAIN OUT OF THE FANCY Variegated shrubs and even trees can sometimes develop an un-variegated shoot which can grow vigorously and even swamp your pretty plant if you let...

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