Euphorbia stygiana – Azores spurge

This is an interesting euphorbia at any time of the year, but it really comes into its own in the winter, most especially during a cold snap when some of the lower stem leaves turn a brilliant pillar-box red. It’s not a massive blast of colour; it is one of those small delights that catch you unawares as you turn a corner. E stygiana is one of the rarer species, less often seen than E mellifera to which it is often unfairly compared. Its habit is quite different, lax even, open, and much broader than tall. Ours is at least...

Continue reading

Sorting Spades and Pruning Late Clematis – Grow-How Tips for early February

With the lengthening days and snowdrops making their entrance, thoughts are definitely turning to the glorious gardening year ahead. So let’s get cracking on some handy tasks to set the scene like top-dressing plants in pots, taking some root-cuttings, and cleaning up the tools ready for the great Spring Push……. TOP-DRESSING FOR TOP SHRUBS Many, many people grow shrubs in pots for all sorts of reasons. For instance: to save on space; to give the plant the specialist soil it likes; for moveability if the plant is less than fully hardy or only gorgeous for a short season………..etc. The temptation is...

Continue reading

Six gardening trends for 2020

I know that in terms of clothes fashion (trousers from Lands’ End, jumpers from Woolovers: job done), I am a big disappointment to my older and younger sisters who are both secretly wannabe Kardashians, but trust me when it comes to gardening trends I am dynamite compared with either of them. So what are my predictions for what we gardeners should be turning our attention to in 2020?1. Seaside plants. I don’t want to sound too apocalyptic but we do now need to prepare for climate Armageddon, and seek out plant species that can survive in hostile environments. Eryngiums...

Continue reading

Geranium palmatum AGM – Canary Island Geranium

This handsome evergreen perennial gives me pleasure pretty much all year round; I can be walking down the path on a grey winter’s day, and my eye will be caught by its fresh green foliage. It’s quite unlike any other: apart from its sister plant Geranium maderense which is even more arresting in appearance, but only hardy in very mild and sheltered areas.  So, in early summer the plant will be a mass of purplish pink flowers held high on stout stems above the beautiful, deeply divided leaves. These flowers last well and will give a good display throughout the...

Continue reading