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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Garden centre or nursery? A country divided

Have you been buying plants in the last two weeks? Don’t feel guilty. Apparently we’ll spend £1.4bn by the end of the year (the British, not just you and me), but did you get them from a garden centre or an independent nursery? Look on any gardening forum – it’s contentious. Whether you go to Dobbies or Bill’s Specialist Plants is as defining as being a Brexiteer or a Remoaner. It is bit of an intellectual snobbery thing. I took my sisters to a garden centre when they visited and they announced snootily, ‘We’ve been here 20 minutes and we...

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