Growbags – easily seduced on dark winter nights

When the weather closes in, and the days are still short, keen gardeners still need their fix and will turn their attention to virtual gardening, browsing catalogues and planning what seeds and young plants they need to order for the year ahead. Garden companies are well aware of the vulnerable state of the human psyche during the dark days of February and time the production of their catalogues accordingly to dangle images of unnaturally luxuriant flowers and foliage under our noses. Their clever market research whizzkids will have analysed your previous purchasing preferences and ensure that the right fruit/veg/herbaceous/bedding selections...

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Chaenomeles x superba ‘Pink Lady’ AGM

Everyone is familiar with the ornamental quince. They are easy to grow, very hardy, can be left to grow freely or be trained tightly against a wall. They also come in many colours, some more familiar than others, and are tolerant of almost any soil type. What is not often pointed out is the ability of some of them to thrive in almost total shade and this particular one, ‘Pink Lady’ does just that, and it must be the earliest of them all. Ours started to flower in the middle of January and is very prolific. The tiny, dark...

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Braving the elements reaps sweet smell of success

I can’t believe my sisters sometimes….! When I proposed our next blog should be about winter scented shrubs there was palpable apathy from the pair of them: ‘nothing much smelling in my garden at the moment’, honestly – what lightweights! They are both missing out on one of the highlights of the gardening year. I love perambulating my garden in January, hands clasping a hot drink, visiting each of my winter beauties in turn and soaking up their delicious fragrance. Louise gets it – did you catch her plant profile of wintersweet, Chimonanthes ‘Luteus’ and she (unlike snowflakes C and E)...

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Arum italicum subsp. italicum ‘Marmoratum’ AGM syn. Arum italicum ‘Pictum’

Straight off I need to state that my subject this week is not for gardeners who like to be in control, for it is a great self seeder, and is further helped on its way by blackbirds. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it invasive but thought I had better sound the alert! Interestingly, until I started to write this piece, I had no idea that it had earned the prestigious Award of Garden Merit by the RHS.This tuberous perennial is summer dormant; its bold, spear-shaped leaves emerge in the autumn and are glossy deep green, patterned...

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