The Growbags grass each other up

The end of August and all of a sudden, you notice the grasses which have been slowly developing among the flamboyant late summer flowers.  They were made incredibly trendy a few years ago by the groovy horticultural guru Piet Oudolf and steadily even small back gardens were filling up with wafting groups of Miscanthus and Calamagrostis.  Now, I am happy to shock people on occasions (only yesterday, I appalled our judgemental children by binging on three consecutive episodes of Poldark and a whole box of Milk Tray), and, candidly, I get tremendously bored with ranks of swaying grass, which looked completely alien...

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Artemisia lactiflora ‘Elfenbein’

I say the word ‘artemisia’, and immediately springs to my mind the many silver-leaved forms that I already have in our garden. These are abrotanum, ludoviciana, absinthium, and pontica to name but a few, and the family also includes A dracunculus (French tarragon). Often aromatic, and with finely divided, decorative foliage, they are a useful family to know. A few years ago I came across A lactiflora Ghizou Group and it looked startlingly different with its purple flushed, dark green foliage and striking, tall, creamy white flowers in midsummer. More recently I added today’s special plant, A lactiflora ‘Elfenbein’...

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Parham House Gardens

I defy anyone not feel happier after a visit to Parham House Gardens in Pulborough, West Sussex. The sense of well-being starts as soon as you pull off the A283, drive in through the main gates and weave your way down through the historic parkland, a mosaic of downland, bracken and veteran trees opening up to an uplifting view of the South Downs in which this Elizabethan house and garden nestle. The bonhomie continues with the welcome you get as you park on the springy turf (no trace of twentieth century tarmac here) and make your way through the...

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Social climbers or rampant pests?

There are two ways you can achieve a last hurrah in your garden from late summer climbers: perennials or annuals. In the wild climbers rely on the support of other plants to reach up to the light so are naturally gregarious creatures, happy to mix in with whatever plant populations already exist in your garden providing they are getting a leg up in life. I don’t have much time for annual climbers, ipomoea, thunbergia and the like;  they require too much cosseting and then only produce something rather weak and spindly that is starting to go yellow at the base...

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