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Here’s to the survivors!

There have been some extremes of weather in many necks of many woods this summer, have there not!  Two of the3Growbags have been dealing with weeks of drought and heat.  Caroline has contended with something altogether WETTER in her Highland realm but given the steep topography of her garden we still let her contribute to this…

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Hurray for hydrangeas! – eight of our favourites

It really is HIGH SUMMER now, and dozens of the early summer shrubs – philadelphus, weigela, deutzia, rubus , etc. etc. have done their thing already. So this week we 3Growbags are discussing one of the few shrub species that will fill the garden with gorgeous colour and form in July and August.  Hydrangeas, of course!…

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How should Caroline tackle her sloping garden?

A flat garden, like having straight hair, would be a blessing according to Caroline. What do you think? If you feel that you too could create a Sissinghurst or Dixter if only your garden wasn’t at a 45 degree angle or plagued by episodes of mounds and dips, you’re about to be inspired. You’ll realise that…

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10 favourite perennials for July colour

How much colour can you cope with in your summer perennial beds? Do you want dependable blocks of primary colours, something a bit more subtle, or total bling (yes you’ve guessed – Caroline). This week we’re running through some of the plants that give each of us that colour-fix in July with a few tips…

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10 things that make a perfect day in the garden

For all of us, a perfect day in the garden will be the sum of many little tasks, revelations and modest triumphs that together make our collective hobby so satisfying. But with such contrasting tastes and locations (and, in Caroline’s case, skill levels …) what really constitutes a perfect day in the garden for us…

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Chelsea Flower Show brings out the worst and best in the Growbags

Jurassic waterfalls, a garden made of random non-essential walls and the top prize going controversially to a reproduction of a piece of scruffy British countryside – it must be Chelsea Flower Show and we absolutely loved it! The party atmosphere on this final Saturday of Chelsea is an annual ‘must’ for us. All other priorities….husbands,…

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Which poppy is right for your garden?

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘poppy’? Is it the beautiful swathes of red field poppies (Papaver rhoeas) that germinated in the churned-up battlegrounds of Flanders and became such a symbol of remembrance and hope?  Or perhaps it’s the powder-puff flowers of opium poppies (Papaver somniferum) with their wonderful seedheads so beloved of…

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It’s open season on garden-visiting!

We are into full garden-visiting time now – hurray! And it’s our mission this week to encourage everyone to get out there and explore some spring gardens, big or small – Covid restrictions have been lifted, the tulips and peonies are smiling, and there is cake to be munched!  How do you go about it? Step…

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Will you choose the bees,the birds or the butterflies this Easter?

‘Gardening for Wildlife’ is a wonderful concept and one we should all be embracing, but where to start? Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and our advice is to focus on some simple steps to encourage particular groups to start with. So this week we 3Growbags are going to take it in turns to…

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Who doesn’t love a hardy geranium?

There is simply nothing as dependable as a hardy geranium! We’re talking here of the rugged, low-growing, outdoor types rather than their glamorous cousins, the pot plant pelargoniums. Now is the perfect time to plant them. Or better still, put a quick spade through your neighbour’s and get a division for your own garden! You…

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Top 10 garden tasks to get your garden ready for Spring

This week we are all about prepping our gardens for the razzmatazz of spring and summer ahead! Come on, no more shilly-shallying – we need to get OUT THERE.  These are the jobs we are determined to tackle right now, and we think you should too……… It’s me, the proper gardener, up first this week. I…

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Growbags’ big day out at the Garden Press Event 2022

Wow, how exciting is this – we actually had a proper day out last week, meeting real people at the annual Garden Press Event in London! The event’s aim is to give us a chance to review new gardening products and mix with the movers and shakers of the horticulture stratosphere (don’t think Caroline got…

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Ten of our best spring plants

We’ve all learnt that gardening can be a panacea in troubled times so let’s take a little break from the world outside and focus on what brings us joy. This week we’ve each chosen a selection of our best spring plants to lift spirits and for a moment, concentrate on the good things in life.…

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Why you should keep a garden diary

How good is your garden admin? Do you make a note of all the new plants you’ve bought and where you’ve planted them (Elaine) Do you keep the labels? Do you file the delivery slips of your on-line purchases? Do you actually know even the approximate common name of the chunk of plant you have…

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Our top 10 early spring bulbs

Doesn’t it lift your spirits when the first of the early spring bulbs start to emerge? Quietly at first with the gentle green and white of the snowdrops, then other colours start to flow in as the aconites and crocus get going. But as usual we three Growbags disagree on which are the best varieties,…

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Time for a new garden look?

Is there a style of garden that you’ve always admired, such as a gravel garden, or formal 18th Century, prairie, colour-themed, jungle or cottage, but never really followed it through? Most of us end up with something of a hotch-potch of plants we liked in the Garden Centre, were given by friends, will grow in our…

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Gardening trends for 2022

When the Royal Horticultural Society publishes its predictions for the year ahead, you’ve got to be curious. In fact the ‘voice’ of gardening produced 53 suggestions at the New Year – from the rising popularity of ice baths (nope nor us), to a boom in multi-stem trees and the return of crazy-paving. Not read the…

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Have some festive fun! Prize crossword and other puzzles

It’s Christmas! It’s time to put the secateurs down, pour a glass of something you fancy and tackle The3Growbags’ Prize Garden Crossword. We asked Elaine to make it easy but there were still 10 clues that Caroline couldn’t answer (no great surprise there). We’re offering a prize of six fabulous Liberte houseplant pots to one lucky winner so…

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10 festive decorations from the garden

Ooooh, I love the feeling of bringing the garden into the house to share in the fun, excitement and warmth of Christmas! There are lots of plants that look wonderful in December and can be used for very special decorations. We 3Growbags have each got our own favourite plants to use at this time of…

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Laura’s Woodland Edge Plants

Here is a list of plants that I have collected over the years that seem to be happy in a shady bed that has a reasonable amount of organic matter added and is mulched annually with leaf mould or similar. Perennials Aquilegia ‘Ruby Port’ – my favourite granny’s bonnet, which seems to come true from…

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Books every gardener should read

Blogs, vlogs, Insta, Facebook, Twitter – they’re all very well but sometimes, and especially over Christmas and New Year, there’s nothing better that curling up with the comforting, tactile engagement of a good book. This week we’re each going to make some recommendations about the authors who make the best company on these long dark…

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Have you been doing your winter pots all wrong? 10 tips for getting them right

‘Let’s talk about planting up winter pots this week’ gushed Elaine and Caroline. And indeed they are full of new-found ideas on how to go about it which added HUGELY to what they knew from their own wisdom and experience. They both happened to watch an apparently wonderful Zoom presentation by Harriet Rycroft and were…

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Ten bulbs you should be ordering now!

When we three sat down to decide our topic for this week, it was a toss-up between Halloween Horror plants and our pick of delightful spring bulbs to plant now. The latter won, you might be relieved to hear, but frankly one of Laura’s choices looks like it could easily fit in the former category.…

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Is your October garden a war zone, a project or a piece of paradise?

Oh, how the Growbag tables have turned this year! Down in the south Elaine and I have endured ‘the summer that never was’, now seemingly being followed by a dank, soggy autumn. Meanwhile annoying little sister Caroline, ensconced in the Highlands of Scotland, has been basking in sunshine since April, a fact of which she never…

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Chelsea in September – What are your thoughts?

Whoa! Chelsea in the autumn! How are you feeling about it? A lot has happened in the last 18 months (three million new gardeners, working from home, mental health concerns, climate change fears, the joy of being together again….) How have these impacted on the Show? We Growbags can report that the impact was frankly…

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Plants to light up a shady corner in September

With Chelsea Flower Show now in our sights we will no doubt be wowed by the dazzling array of sun-loving late summer prairie plants and grasses that are now so popular (and don’t worry, we’ve all three got CFS tickets so prepped to bring you our personal highlights, and we’ll try to keep Caroline away…

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Tackle your mistakes and eyesores – now!

Now come on, be honest: when did you last take a long critical look at your patch, with a view to sorting out (by which I generally mean GETTING RID OF) some of the eyesores? When you’ve been looking at a gruesome mistake in your garden for a long time, you end up barely registering…

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Summer flowering trees – a scarce commodity

Most of our chosen garden trees will be blossom trees such as cherries or crab apples which will flower in spring and be followed by berries or fiery leaf colour in autumn. So it’s actually a rare and precious thing to come across a tree that saves its flower power until high summer. We three…

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Don’t leave out the foliage (see what we did there?)

Yes, yes, we know that high summer is all about bright flowers, and the zingier the better, but foliage has its place too. We want to sing the praises of some of our favourite summer leaves this week and encourage you to consider incorporating a few among all the dazzle of an early August garden.…

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Annuals: Giving us all a boost through a choppy old summer

Most of us have a bash at a few annuals each year, and in some gardens they are the colourful mainstay of summer beds and pots. The hardy ones can be sprinkled outdoors in early spring whilst others benefit from a head start indoors until they can brave the English climate. I went for the…

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Clematis: the good, the worthy and the downright ugly

No one can call themselves a gardener if they don’t have at least a couple of clematis, and because you can have one in flower in any given month of the year, this could easily creep to 12. But they don’t succeed with everyone and a certain oneupmanship creeps in with us 3 Growbags, as…

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We’re flying the flag for iris!

It’s peak ‘iris’ at the moment, but with so many different ones to choose from which would be best for your garden? As usual we three growbags have differing opinions…..Elaine is in full-on ‘English bearded’ mode, it’s go large or go home as far as she’s concerned. For the more botanically curious and patient amongst…

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Succulents – how far are you prepared to go?

Succulents, those plants with fleshy leaves or stems that store water to see them through drought periods, ought to be on all gardeners’ radars as our climate heats up, but they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. There is a sliding scale of succulence from full blown cacti, through aloes and echiveras to chubby stonecrops, small…

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Who needs Chelsea when you can have the Highlands?

So in a week where we might have been heading to the embankment in London for the Chelsea Flower Show, Elaine and I instead found ourselves heading north to Caroline’s new abode in the Highlands. We thought we’d been invited up to sip cocktails in her glasshouse and marvel at the progress she had made…

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Has it really been five years?

It’s the FIFTH ANNIVERSARY of the 3Growbags blog – WHAAAA!! Thank you so much for coming on this journey with us. As a little gift we’ve partnered with lovely Hayloft Plants, (another start-up gardening business set up by mums) to give you a chance of winning one of ten £10 Hayloft vouchers in a free…

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Peonies galore – but which one to choose?

Three sisters, three types of peony, so we’ve taken one each. The most normal sister (me ..lol) will be taking you through the most commonly grown ‘herbaceous’ peonies, whilst Elaine will be cooing over her stunning collection of the more rarefied ‘tree’ peonies (whilst making us all feel a bit inadequate) and Caroline, the most…