Cyclamen hederifolium

So what IS making us smile this autumn?

Oh boy, if ever we needed our plants and gardens to keep on and on putting a smile on our faces, it is NOW. A long, slow beautiful autumn right into the back end of October at least, please. But what plants will help us rage against the dying of the light? (Don’t worry if you don’t get the literary allusion there, Laura – we know you’re a scientist and are much more at home with the latest paper on Phytopathology from the Royal Society……………..) Today we Growbags want to give a shout-out to some plants or foliage that...

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The Growbags make some cutting remarks……….

You know you’re a proper gardener when you start propagating plants, and generously giving them away to others. My own garden is full of plant gifts from Elaine and Louise, – none yet from Caroline but one lives in hope. Indeed one of the pleasures of a walk around your garden is the memories of the person who gave you each plant so it’s lovely to be able to reciprocate with some home made plants of your own, and now is the perfect time to give some cuttings a go. The best plant presents are usually something a little...

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10 winning August plants

Never has the sisterly horticultural divide been greater than this summer. I berated Caroline last Saturday for using a photo of Elaine wearing a fleece (unthinkable this week – she would keel over with heat exhaustion) and she hissed back that it was (her words) ‘pissing with rain again in Edinburgh’. So our sibling suggestions for winning perennials in August may differ. Down here in the overheated Southern counties, Darwinian survival of the fittest is operating, driving the endangered damp loving species like rodgersias, astilbes and inulas (our feature picture above) to migrate north beyond the Watford Gap, and...

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Stipa gigantea

What to plant in a windy spot

Unfortunately my sisters view windy sites in a garden as a problem rather than an opportunity – if only they had studied proper subjects at school such as geography and biology, (instead of in Elaine’s case, Classics, and in Caroline’s, boys) they would know that in other regions of the world there are plants that will not just ‘cope’ with wind but will revel in it. In recent years us enlightened gardeners have turned to the North American prairies and the Russian steppes for inspiration. Here, there are plants with adaptations to searing heat in summer, bitter cold in...

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