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Growbags on tour

When Caroline said that in a fit of madness, she had booked the 3growbags to give a talk at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, my first thought was a calm and thoughtful ‘WHAT!!?!’ I was overwhelmed with questions – ‘What will we talk about? Who will come? Would we master Powerpoint? Would Caroline behave herself?’ And, most relevant of all, ‘What happens if I curl up in a terrified heap muttering Latin plant names, and dribbling a little?’ But then Caroline, who is also our grimly bossy editor, said I could tell people about the creation of my...

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Darmera peltata AGM – Umbrella plant

Now, I realise the photograph of my chosen plant this week may not be everyone’s idea of a horticultural gem, but with each year that passes I become more fascinated with the seasonal change that is autumn. There is an allure beyond the beauty of colour; gentle decay can also be a fascinating, eye catching process and the umbrella plant illustrates this perfectly. Darmera peltata has a long season of interest. It is a vigorous, hardy, herbaceous perennial (to about 1m.) which is happiest in damp or boggy soil, preferably on the edge of a pond. And it is...

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10 evergreens to rescue your garden

Help! Our gardens have descended into a soggy mess and I can’t be the only one wandering around dismal piles of rain-sodden vegetation wondering where it all went wrong. It’s now that evergreens in your garden can come to the rescue. Like the bowls of cheese-‘n-onion crisps that you don’t notice at a buffet till all the chilli prawn vol-au-vents have gone, they suddenly start to matter. But let’s be a little selective. There seem to be dozens of small conifers, for instance, that just….sit there. All year. Garden gnomes, frankly, have more life about them. No, no, I like my...

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Serratula tinctoria var. seoanei

It is often said of plants: ‘should be more widely used’, or ‘not often seen in gardens’, and I am pretty sure I know why you could say that of my choice today. It is at its peak in October, and often into November, so it’s not going to make many sales in nurseries and even less in garden centres, because the plant buying public, if they do make a trip to either, are turning their thoughts to buying spring bulbs or (I daren’t even mention the ‘c’ word), to the forthcoming festive season! So, this late flowering, hardy member...

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