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Great Plants this Month Summer

Rosa x odorata ‘Mutabilis’ AGM

I have often thought that if I was only allowed a single rose on my desert island, this is the one that I would choose above all others: its ethereal beauty simply cannot be matched. This slender China rose blends seamlessly with perennials in a mixed border, it is perfectly hardy but probably gives of its best in a sheltered…

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Great Plants this Month Summer

Clematis ‘Vyvyan Pennell’

Clematis ‘Vyvyan Pennell’ was raised by Walter Pennell of Pennell and Sons nursery in the mid-fifties and was named after his wife. Pennells was founded in 1780 and is still in the ownership of the same family – quite a record!  So, Walter Pennell not only raised one of my favourite clematis, (which incidentally is probably the best known of all the…

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Great Plants this Month Summer

Peaks and troughs

When our old Belfast sink finally became too chipped and stained for kitchen use, out it went by the back door, and my ever-resourceful husband had it turned into a vintage garden trough in no time. No sink, trough or container specifically dedicated to growing alpines, sempervivums and other succulents is by any means low maintenance; this is probably because one has to use such a gritty, free-draining potting…

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Great Plants this Month Summer

Datisca cannabina – Cretan hemp*

If plants were twinned with characters from books, there is little doubt that Datisca cannabina would be paired up with Roald Dahl’s BFG. My Great Plant this Month is truly a gentle giant of a plant. This clump-forming, herbaceous perennial, to 2m or more in height, is almost as wide as it is high; however, this…

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Great Plants this Month Summer

Lepechinia hastata – pakaha

Plants grown in containers are really starting to come into their own in the heat of summer, and there is one in particular which I would hate to be without.  Belonging to the same family as salvias (lamiaceae), my subject today certainly does bear close resemblance to many of the sages and I am often…

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GrowHow Summer

Clematis ‘Venosa Violacea’ AGM

It all began on a very windy day in February when I noticed that our aged Chimonanthus praecox was being blown sideways under the weight of a winter flowering clematis and a honeysuckle. So, I did a bit of emergency topping there and then and made a note to finish off the job in the spring when the clematis had finished…

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Great Plants this Month Summer

Pontederia cordata AGM – pickerel weed

In our garden, our beautiful pool was designed and built by Rob, my husband, so fair enough, he now has jurisdiction over its planting (although I still do the weeding around it!). I therefore look and admire, and when something really catches my eye, I ask for its name and find out more. This pontederia is a very showy perennial plant from North America: a marginal aquatic that is hardy…

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Great Plants this Month Summer

Salvia verticillata ‘Hannay’s Blue’

There was a time when the only sage I grew in my garden was the culinary herb, Salvia officinalis; but today I ask myself, where would we be without the rest of them? It is a huge genus and they are very varied in colour and habit, many are hardy and very long flowering, others less hardy but all are huge favourites in…

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Great Plants this Month Summer

Rosa ‘Dortmund’ AGM

I make no apology for choosing another rose this week, we are in June after all, and this amazing climber is such a winner, I just couldn’t ignore it.  Many years ago, we first saw ‘Dortmund’ growing on a wall of ‘The Garden House’ in Devon and as I remember it was the only rose on sale in the nursery at the time. This, in itself, was…

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Great Plants this Month Summer

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Coleton Fishacre’

Late summer in our garden – and predominant in the beds are shades of purple, lavender, blue and pink; the hot colours of the autumn garden have yet to get into their stride. So, my subject today is the perfect antidote to fit into this misty mix. Neither yellow, nor rust, nor ochre, it is…