dahlia merckii

Dahlia merckii

  OCTOBER: Dahlia merckii. Now I am not a big fan of dahlias, for me the flowers are too brash and the growth rather ungainly: but here I’ll make an exception. This plant is a species, (and I hope you were paying attention to Laura’s piece and video on plant nomenclature!) so comes true from seed and is a cut above the others. We are now entering the season of seed catalogues and sowing, and it was exactly a year ago that I bought my seed from Derry Watkins at Special Plants Nursery. Incidentally, this is a fantastic source, of...

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bulb lasagnes

Bulb lasagne – not everyone’s favourite dish

Planting spring bulbs? Just like boiling an egg, it looks easy on the face of it but has a sneaky timing aspect that can totally b**ger things up. Memories will eventually dim of my Inverewe chess board experience. I wanted to recreate that Highland garden’s striking black and white tulip bed. What a stunner – fab-u-lous x 10. However, my lack of attention to timing saw a random scattering of ‘White Prince’ tulips shoot up in late March, flower, die and collapse on top of some tiny ‘Queen of the Night’ shoots which struggled through in May to a luke warm reception...

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pink grass

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Herbstzauber’

OCTOBER: Pennisetum alopecuroides  ‘Herbstzauber’. Now I bet you don’t know what a forb is, and nor did I until I sat down to write this piece, and it could be a good one if you play scrabble. It is a herbaceous flowering plant other than a grass. My chosen plant is a pennisetum, and I was reading a small booklet on grasses published by the Hardy Plant Society*. In the introduction the author rightly points out that many grasses appear to be in flower for far longer than any forbs because of course the beauty of the seed heads...

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Grammar Schools: where a gardening education starts

All three of us Growbag sisters are the products of what is apparently now considered the gold standard of tuition, our local single sex grammar school ‘Horsham High for Girls’ . We were so educationally well equipped that we could, apparently, have been captains of industry or Prime Ministers. So how is it that my older and younger sister seem to be totally unable, or unwilling, to grasp the fundamental principles of plant nomenclature? You can see from the video of my explanation just how hopeless they both are. In 1737 Carl Linaeus proposed a system of naming all living...

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