Clematis ‘Belle of Woking’

I bought this clematis three years ago, a strong little plant in a 9cm pot and it has never looked back. I mention the size of the pot because I find that these young plants, although by their size are vulnerable and need a bit of extra protection initially, soon romp away and establish well. A bit like planting whips instead of more mature trees. Also, being in such small pots, they are much easier to fit into an already overcrowded bed! So ….. big hole, lots of organic matter and food, a large drink, and a slab on...

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Heuchera ‘Brown Finch’

I am going for ‘subtle’ this week. If you want flamboyance, there is Chelsea! At this time of the year, almost every time I walk round the garden, something new is starting into flower, and naturally my attention is caught by the colour and exuberance of it all: roses, clematis, euphorbia, iris, paeonies … the list is endless. My subject today is not so noticeable, but it has a quiet, dependable presence, and our garden would be the poorer without it. Walk into most garden centres (not nurseries!) and you will be regaled with rows of different heucheras. All those...

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Vitex agnus-castus var. latifolia

I must start by mentioning the garden where I first saw this month’s plant. A few years ago I took my mother on a little garden-visiting jaunt to South Wales and we came across this gem of a garden nestling in a beautiful and secluded valley with breathtaking views. Tucked into the hillside, it was filled with treasures including many salvias and other Mediterranean plants. I saw their vitex in full flower and fell for it. Vitex is a magnet for bees, butterflies and other insects and bears upright sprays of fragrant, lavender blue flowers from July, August or September...

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Koelireuteria Paniculata - Golden Rain Tree

Koelreuteria paniculata – Golden Rain Tree

I love propagating all plants, but above all I have a particular fondness for trees that I have raised from seed. So much is invested: the collection, the sowing, the waiting, the watching, the watering. Then by magic, or so it seems, a tiny green shoot appears, and others soon follow. So a few years ago I was walking through the Cambridgeshire village of Hemingford Grey with my sister, when we stopped in our tracks to admire a beautiful ‘Golden Rain Tree’ in the churchyard. Instantly I made a mental note to ask Fran to return in a few...

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