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Spring Great Plants this Month

Viola labradorica: Syn Viola riviniana – Purpurea Group

Writing these twice monthly pieces, I am always learning something new, and this time I had to look up the exact whereabouts of Labrador. So now I know, and furthermore I understand why this little plant is so resilient, as it also native to Greenland. For me it stands out from other violas on account…

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Spring Great Plants this Month

Coronilla valentina subsp.glauca ‘Citrina’

Sorry about the rather long title, but names mean everything in the plant world and in this instance ‘Citrina’ is the vital word because without it, you will get a plant which (in my opinion) bears rather unappealing chrome yellow flowers. Coronilla valentina is a member of the pea family, a small evergreen (approx. 80cms),…

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Spring

Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ AGM

MARCH Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ AGM In this most magical of months when there is so much happening in the garden, I want to put in a word for a member of the currant family. Again, all too often the only one available, and therefore most often seen, is the very drab pink R sanguineum.…

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Spring

Bergenia emeiensis

Bergenia emeiensis Bergenia ciliata The name Bergenia might provoke a little shudder in some people, so I hope my photograph has instantly caught your attention, because this one is about as far as one can get from the murky pinky purple offerings most commonly seen in spring. B emeiensis is a compact, hardy, evergreen plant;…

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Spring

Pulmonaria rubra

Pulmonarias are among the earliest herbaceous perennials to flower in springtime, and Pulmonaria rubra is the first; its hairy stems and fresh green leaves emerging in January are soon followed by the flowers. These are a delightful shade of coral pink or red (with not a hint of blue!) and they associate well not only with some…

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Winter

Iris unguicularis – the Algerian iris

This beautiful, winter flowering iris used to be called Iris stylosa; sweet sounding and easy to remember. Easy to grow too, just plant it at the base of a dry sunny wall with no added compost, and it will thrive. It seems to love poor stony soil which is no surprise when you look at its natural…

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Winter

Salix fargesii

During periods of hard frost it is not difficult to find stunning subjects to admire as you wander around the garden; every stem, seedhead and leaf is enhanced by the sparkling white dust of  air hoar. The challenging days are when it’s grey and dismal and the light levels are at their lowest. But even…

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Winter

Anisodontea ‘El Royo’

The first anisodontea that I grew was A. capensis, which is less hardy, less showy, smaller in all respects, but very charming nonetheless.  Then I came across A.‘El Royo’, another member of the mallow family, which has much larger, clearer pink flowers, also with dark centres, and it flowers best, most unexpectedly, in autumn and winter. It is a…

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Winter

Clematis cirrhosa

From about the middle of December, the garden takes second place in the order of things; but as soon as the festivities are over I rush outside, keen to see what’s in flower, and to catch up with all our treasures. Planted not far from our back door and therefore always on view to be…

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Autumn

Althaea cannabina

I’m all for transparency, and not just in the late summer or early autumn border! Over the last few weeks I have been looking long and hard at such plantings and have come to the conclusion that relentless clumps of Rudbeckia, Helenium, Eupatorium, Persicaria, Ligularia etc, do not always fit with the average garden plot.…