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Growbag Blog

Winter colour courts controversy

I was so sure ornamental grasses and classy seedheads were the ‘it’ girls of winter these days, that I fully splashed out on them – stipas, calamagrostis, pennisetum …you name it, I’ve got it. Good heavens, I’m only one unwise purchase away from pampas grass. You can, then, imagine my dismay this week when Elaine […]

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Plants that put a smile on February’s face

February might hold St Valentine’s Day, but the garden can still be very dreary. We’ve been out trying to find some pops of joy and colour – and just look what we found! Of course what is now blooming in southern UK probably won’t be thrilling Caroline in the Highlands until the back-end of April, […]

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10 plants we love to hate

Have you got some plants growing in your garden that you actually kinda hate?  We are not talking full-on weeds here, but flowers, shrubs or even trees that you actually bought and still tend, even though your love-affair with them has long since ended.   We Growbags certainly have, and here are ten with which we have […]

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A heap of resolutions for a more ethical garden

Are you planning to make some eco-friendly changes to your garden this year, but don’t know how to go about it? Time was when the idea of gardening was to manhandle your outdoor space into submission. But now we know we must work WITH nature, not against it. We’ve got some ideas about how to make […]

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Our 2023 garden successes … and failures

As we close one year and start the next, we’re sharing which garden plants and projects got the thumbs up from each of us in 2023.  Luckily for Caroline we’re also prepared to ‘fess up’ about the plants that failed and which projects sank without trace, so she shouldn’t be short of material for this […]

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The 3growbags Christmas quiz

Oooh, it’s nearly Christmas! You can practically hear the reindeer tinkling on the roof. We 3Growbags are very busy baking mince pies and stuffing stockings but still wanted to set you a jolly Christmas quiz before we rush off to baste a bird or something. Elaine has some word puzzles for you, Laura has done […]

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What plant would you like to get for Christmas?

Plants – what better Christmas present is there? They’re a GOOD THING for the planet, sustainable, personal and promise a lifelong connection with the giver. Truly, they’re a great gift idea, but what plant should you choose at this slightly tricky time of the horticultural year? Although this is our 200th post (and our 65th […]

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Nine reasons to be cheerful in November

I love the month November, because it’s  about the only month in the year when you can actually RELAX in your garden.  OK, so Elaine will try and have you out turning the compost or planting bare root hedges, but honestly there’s no need, you CAN just swan around the garden clasping a hot drink […]

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Our top 10 Autumn berries

After the glories of summer flowers, we can still revel in these bright jewels of late autumn and winter.  This we week we choose our favourite 10 berries but as usual there is disagreement on wild versus cultivated varieties, the speed with which they’re consumed by birds, and even what constitutes a berry in the first […]

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10 tasks to prepare your garden for winter

Once upon a time, summer was a hot season and was followed by autumn, which was cooler and then winter, which was properly cold (back when baths were once a week; Christmas lights didn’t appear until December and no one had heard of Net Zero). But now we live in precarious climatic anarchy in which sunny, […]

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The gardening kit we can’t live without

Have you got certain items that MUST be with you whenever you go into the garden?  It might be particular clothing, tools, equipment or maybe even sustenance. We 3Growbags definitely have, and we are expecting some knowing nods of agreement among our readers as we tell you about them… Trousers with knee-pads.  Whoever invented these deserves to […]

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10 perfect autumn plants for insects

Caroline’s increasing competence as a gardener meant I was reasonably relaxed when she accompanied me to an innovative event at the hallowed horticultural Mecca, Great Dixter, last week, without too much fear of embarrassment. During the presentation an important fact emerged; an ecological audit had revealed the garden areas had a higher biodiversity count than […]

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Sounds like, Great Dixter

Great Dixter, a garden that once seen, can’t be forgotten but could you as easily, recall its sounds? Last week The3Growbags were invited to this iconic garden, created in East Sussex by the late Christopher Lloyd, to learn about its biodiversity ethos – as it’s heard. Stopping briefly to offer sympathetic noises for Elaine who […]

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Give grasses the green light!

I know I should be used to it by now but Caroline’s poor grasp of botany can still be quite alarming. ‘Grasses? oh good, I can include my persicaria and veronicastrums then – they’re along the same lines aren’t they?’ What WAS she doing in her O Level biology classes when the rest of us […]

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Pots that look perfect in September

Having perfect pots in September can be tricky; summer bedding starts to look tatty, but it’s too soon to swap to a winter selection. Laura’s answer is to deploy some (slightly obscure) potted autumn bulbs, Elaine has some tips on container plants that hit their stride right now, and Caroline has surprised us all with […]

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Colour in the Garden – Harmony or Contrast

It’s quite a responsibility being the only person in the family with good taste. Today’s blog will serve to demonstrate this fact admirably. As in life I always strive to create cameos of understated charm and harmony in the garden; Elaine’s patch generally looks like she’s employed Prue Leith as a colour consultant and TBH […]

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Gardening in the wet

So just as we installed a new range of completely drought-tolerant plants and started feeling smug during a sweltering June, it’s all come crashing down in July and August, with endless soggy weather. But let’s take a glass-half-full approach and see what we could be doing with those extra hours we have each day that […]

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Is re-wilding your garden a good idea?

Oh crikey, everyone’s getting a bit hot under the collar about re-wilding aren’t they! Even the great and the good of the gardening world, Monty Don and Alan Titchmarsh have waded in ….. So this week we’d thought we’d add our two-pennies’-worth to the debate; Laura is deeply troubled by the whole concept, Elaine has […]

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How to put your stamp on a garden

A garden is a garden is a garden – a flower-bed or two, a place to kick a ball about, a table and chairs somewhere…But what about making it more individual than that?  Putting your own stamp on it, and deliberately creating an atmosphere, in the same way that you might with an indoor room? […]

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Hampton Court Flower Show – Laura goes solo

Yippee!! with Elaine decamped to Normandy for the summer and Caroline now retreated back to the Scottish Highlands, it meant I got to go solo to the Hampton Court Flower Show this year. Without my two bossy sisters telling me I’m weird for liking carnivorous plants; that my ancient Barbour jacket is now out of […]

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And the best rose is……

Last week Laura and Caroline were posting rather annoyingly happy messages on our WhatsApp group from Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire from the launch of ‘Rose of the Year 2024’. Yes, we’ll reveal the winner in this very blog! But first, it made us think we should make our own Rose Awards, in categories we think mean […]

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Our 10 favourite small trees

We all need trees. For height, shade, wildlife, beauty, for sound absorption…for the planet for goodness’ sake! But if you’ve only got room for a small tree in your garden, you’ll want it to be fabulous as far as flowers, colour and scent goes, plus perhaps an eye-catching bark and a good winter outline. This […]

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The3Growbags go to Chelsea!

If Chelsea truly taps into the zeitgeist of the horticultural world then there are some definite trends emerging. It is now mandatory to have a scruffy garden in which at least half the plants (formerly referred to as weeds) must be edible. Alongside you will need a state of the art outdoor kitchen and a […]

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We’re flying the flag for iris!

Woo-hoo! We’re in Chelsea Flower Show month! The show simply couldn’t be better-timed to see irises at their best, so this week we’re reprising a post devoted to these marvellous plants. We hope you enjoy it! With so many different ones to choose from, which iris would be best for your garden? Well it depends […]

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‘Palaces for Nature’ – three garden projects to celebrate the coronation

King Charles is a fantastic ambassador for progressive wildlife-friendly gardening with features such as wildflower meadows, stumperies and thyme walks in his own garden at Highgrove. So why not create a legacy of his coronation with a project that reflects some of our new King’s enthusiasm for gardening for wildlife and create your own ‘Palace […]

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10 spring shrubs to melt your heart

Have you got a favourite spring shrub?  We bet you have.  Is there one that makes you feel like bursting into song when the early May sunshine suddenly spotlights it? We’ve got ten ideas for you on the subject (though of course we are hoping that Laura will not be tempted to burst into song any time […]

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What’s your taste in tulips?

We’re just on the cusp of peak Tulip Time. The world would be a dull place if we all agreed on everything, but these spring bulbs seem to have brought out extremes of opinions with us 3 Growbags. Caroline goes for short and garish, Elaine for flamboyant extroverts whilst I (Laura – the sane sister) […]

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Gardening tasks to tackle by Easter

Have you got a VAST list of tasks to do in the garden? Arghhhh – there are SO many! We 3Growbags are here with 10 ideas to help you concentrate your energies. As usual though, we each have different priorities and unfortunately there’s a bit of an ongoing spat over auriculas.… Involve the children.  Make this […]

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Propagate to accumulate!

It’s all very well to have gorgeously colourful plant catalogues dropping through the letterbox with every delivery but have you seen the prices this year, folks? By the time you’ve picked out some bedding for the tubs, and chosen one new shrub, you’ve blown the dosh you were saving for new shoes or fixing that […]

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Our favourite climbers for each season

We want to talk about climbers today.  They are SUCH an important part of the outdoor scene, don’t you think? Especially in small gardens and balconies, where you’d be mad not to make use of the vertical space. But which to choose?   We 3growbags have each come up with a suggestion for the three main flowering seasons. […]

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Growbags at the Garden Press Event

What a privilege it was to be invited to the Garden Press Event in London – our chance to learn about horticultural innovations, review new products and have a good old chinwag with other lovely garden bloggers over cups of tea. Elaine and I took our brief to look and learn quite seriously, I wish […]

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Action stations: Give wildlife a home in your garden

It’s National Nestbox Week and at last – an element of consensus among the 3Growbags! We all three love giving wildlife a home in our gardens, and early spring is THE time to start a campaign to encourage more to move in. So this week we’re proposing practical things you can put in place now […]

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Best plants for scent in winter

Between minus double-digits and torrential rain it’s been hard to catch those first scents of our New Year gardens so far in 2023. But on our Zoom call this week we laughed about this post on winter scent from a few years back and wondered if you would too… I can’t believe my sisters sometimes….! When […]

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10 things we’ve learnt about seed-sowing

Whether you’re snowed in, flooded out or just bored of hearing about Harry’s frozen todger, there is a sure-fire way of raising your spirits in the middle of January: planning what seeds you’ll be sowing this year. This week we’ll be sharing our own ambitions and tips, and rest assured, there will be inspiration for […]

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Getting your 2023 garden on schedule

Happy New Year, everyone!  Let’s hope it’s going to be a fabulous one – at least for our gardening exploits!  This week we’ve been thinking about how we can improve our gardens by choosing plants that flower at just the right time for us. For old hands like me and Laura this will involve some minor tweaks […]

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The great Growbag Christmas quiz 2022

No gardening chat and banter this week – our Christmas offering is some jolly gardening puzzles, a nice little plant ID exercise, and we finish with terrible festive jokes.   Hope you enjoy them! You’ll be pleased to hear there is a link at the bottom to the Answer Sheet, for when you get stuck.  We won’t […]