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Rosa × odorata ‘Bengal Crimson’ AGM

Last night the temperature fell to -3.2 degrees, yet still this china rose is in flower. Okay so it’s not a blaze of colour as in the summer months, but I’m so impressed by its persistence. On any given day during this very damp grey autumn I have counted at least a dozen flowers, and many more buds, on our rose. I read that city dwellers get flowers all year round which doesn’t surprise me in the least (there is a good specimen in the Chelsea Physic Garden). So, I’m aware that ours would benefit from a little more...

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Darmera peltata AGM – Umbrella plant

Now, I realise the photograph of my chosen plant this week may not be everyone’s idea of a horticultural gem, but with each year that passes I become more fascinated with the seasonal change that is autumn. There is an allure beyond the beauty of colour; gentle decay can also be a fascinating, eye catching process and the umbrella plant illustrates this perfectly. Darmera peltata has a long season of interest. It is a vigorous, hardy, herbaceous perennial (to about 1m.) which is happiest in damp or boggy soil, preferably on the edge of a pond. And it is...

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Serratula tinctoria var. seoanei

It is often said of plants: ‘should be more widely used’, or ‘not often seen in gardens’, and I am pretty sure I know why you could say that of my choice today. It is at its peak in October, and often into November, so it’s not going to make many sales in nurseries and even less in garden centres, because the plant buying public, if they do make a trip to either, are turning their thoughts to buying spring bulbs or (I daren’t even mention the ‘c’ word), to the forthcoming festive season! So, this late flowering, hardy member...

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Calamagrostis brachytricha AGM – Korean feather reed grass

It’s time for another grass! This year, despite having had our first frost a couple of weeks ago, October is brimming with subtle colour; in the early morning the plants are lightly shrouded in dew, often covered in cobwebs, and the grasses stand effortlessly among them all, unifying the picture. Although they have been on the gardening scene for a long time now, grasses are still quite a daunting prospect when it comes to making the right choice and it’s well worth doing your homework. Some, once they get their toes stuck in, are quite a battle to remove...

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