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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Vital

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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Sphaeralcea incana ‘Sourup’

I just love mallows, and can’t understand why they are not more popular; they have so much going for them. As a genus, sphaeralceas are sun loving, mostly hardy and very free flowering from mid-summer through to late autumn. They are undemanding but need well drained soil. We are on clay, so I often add a couple of spadefuls of grit at planting time … organic matter is good but grit is better! Many sphaeralceas make superb specimens in a pot ( ‘Newleaze Coral’ is beautiful), but I have found that Sourup prefers to be in a border where...

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