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Great Plants this Month Winter

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Professor Richard Hansen’

I won’t deny that taking my early morning walk around the garden these days, is becoming more of a ‘stock taking’ exercise. Let’s face it, few of us have experienced a year like the last for decades, and I find myself re-evaluating the meaning of ‘hardy’. After record breaking temperatures last summer, a very mild…

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Growbag Blog

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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Gardening Tips

Planting beans and oiking weeds – Grow-how tips for January

Arggghhh, January can seem such a long month, can’t it!  It feels particularly so when the weather has been as unpredictable and damaging as it has been recently. Spring still seems quite far away.  But it WILL come, and in the meantime let’s cheer ourselves up with some jolly little tasks to prepare for its arrival, like…

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Growbag Blog

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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Great Plants this Month Winter

Glycyrrhiza yunnanensis

Yunnan liquorice I love a coincidence and here we have one. Once again most of us are waking up to a very hard frost, or even snow, and I am impelled to go outside into the garden and observe all the amazing shapes and patterns that only reveal themselves under such conditions. And while I…

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Gardening Tips

Jobs for a great 2023 garden -Grow-how tips, January

January is not generally famed for beauty in the garden, but do have a look at our 3Growbags list of Brilliant Winter Plants (link is below). There are some real crackers amongst them! For me, this month is mostly about anticipation. Can you feel the thrill of a new gardening year? What will we grow?…

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Growbag Blog

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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Great Plants this Month Winter

Cornus sanguinea ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’ AGM

Dogwood ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’ Getting on for a year ago, I was striding through the rain towards middle growbag Laura’s front door and not for the first time I stopped to admire ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’. Then as luck would have it, Laura rang me a couple of days later to say that she had spotted a couple…

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Growbag Blog

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…

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Great Plants this Month Winter

Euphorbia milii AGM

Crown of thorns I have a confession to make, and I may lose friends saying so, but I am not a fan of poinsettias! To me they are the battery chickens of the horticultural world: propagated en masse, probably at great cost to the environment, and about as original a Christmas present as a chocolate…

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Gardening Tips

Tending to tools and saving citrus – Grow-how tips for December

Wow! We all know it’s bleak midwinter now, don’t we?  Even in my sheltered southern garden, ‘snow has fallen, snow on snow’ and the earth is definitely ‘as hard as iron’.  At least, I won’t have to do any digging for a while! There are still some gardening jobs to give you a break from making…

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Growbag Blog

10 ideas to decorate your festive home

Is anyone else feeling ready to move on from baubles and tinsel? They are, of course, re-usable but after hauling them out of the Christmas Box for 30 years or so, it feels as though life has moved on a bit, doesn’t it? It might be the cost of living… it might be climate change,…

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Great Plants this Month Winter

Argyranthemum ‘Jamaica Primrose’ AGM

Marguerite ‘Jamaica Primrose’  The temperature dropped just below freezing in our barely heated greenhouse last night; this is hardly surprising as outside in the garden it was minus 6.8 degrees, and this, after the warmest November on record. But what a cheery welcome I received as I walked, with some fear and trepidation, through the greenhouse door this morning. Understandably all the other plants looked a little pinched but not this amazing marguerite.…

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Gardening Tips

Thrifty tasks – Grow How tips for early December

How can it be December again! Cliché alert, but where did that year go?  It feels as if it was just last week that we took down the Christmas tinsel. Never mind, we can do this. Let’s just make sure our festive to-do lists include some gardening tasks like planting tulips, bringing plants in for decoration…

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Growbag Blog

What’s your favourite gardening programme?

Gardeners World, Garden Rescue, The Beechgrove Garden, Gardener’s Question Time? There are so many opportunities for us to go on enjoying gardening from the comfort of our sofas now the weather’s turned bad. But which is your favourite? We each have our own of course! I’m going to get in early and say right here…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Aponogeton distachyos or water hawthorn

It was the sweet scent on the air that first caught my attention when Growbag Laura and I wandered around Derry Watkins’ inspirational garden near Bath: the sort of scent that demands that you discover its source. I wasn’t really expecting it to come from an aquatic plant but was led in the direction of a small pond, almost covered by a carpet of…

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Gardening Tips

Make those leaves work for you! Grow-how tips for November

Arrgghhh, it’s becoming harder and harder to duck and weave around the juggernaut that is The British Christmas! But while we’ve still got some modicum of sanity, let’s get on with some pleasant little gardening jobs like making leafmould, choosing some shrubs for screening and making more lovely oriental poppies………. Leaf-mould for a lovely garden…

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Growbag Blog

Are you naming your plants correctly?

One of the many exasperating habits of both my sisters is their lackadaisical approach to the scientific names of the plants they talk about. Elaine likes to wallow in the Latin meanings but loses interest the moment things get technical, and Caroline, well she doesn’t even try. Today we’re looking at the scientific names of…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Francoa sonchifolia

wedding flower Beth Chatto was one of the best known and most inspirational gardeners of the late 20th and early 21st centuries and consequently her garden and nursery have become a sort of plant mecca to the rest of us. But it was her late husband Andrew’s lifelong interest in ecology that helped to establish the ‘right plant, right place’ mantra to which she adhered, and to which we…

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Gardening Tips

Peas, trees and bees -Grow-how tips for November

November can be rather a miserable month, but we’re not miserable, are we! We can enjoy the relative calm in the garden as it settles for winter. The pressure is off, and we can quietly start preparing for an EVEN better horticultural year in 2023. So how about sowing some peas, pruning some branches or…

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Growbag Blog

What makes the best gardening gift?

When we opened an online shop to help with the costs of running our blog, we wanted to stock it with great gardening gifts. But what would these be? Quality garden tools (me, obvs), books, cards and pretty kitchenware, (Elaine), edible birthday cards for dogs (Caroline ?). This week we’re explaining why we thought our…

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Great Plants this Month Autumn

Abelia x grandiflora

glossy abelia At a time when every gardener I talk to is commenting on unusual flowering events in their gardens, I have been enjoying a shrub which reliably performs at the same time every year, no matter what the weather throws at it! No photograph seems to do it justice but its common name, the glossy…

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Gardening Tips

Let’s get planting! Grow-how tips for October

It’s planting time!  Trees, shrubs, roses, wallflowers, garlic…….there’s a myriad of things that you can plant out now. Do it before the ground starts to freeze or become too waterlogged to attempt it.  It will give them such a headstart next spring when everything starts to move again………. Wonderful wallflowers One of my major joys in spring…

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Growbag Blog

Overwintering tender plants? Eight Growbag options…

What are you going to do with the tender perennials in your garden?  They have delighted you all through the summer and early autumn, for sure. But the sun is soon going to start tucking his hat into the drawer for the winter, and your frost-prone beauties will start feeling the chill.  Living as we do in…

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Great Plants this Month

Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’ AGM

Japanese anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ I was just fizzing as I drove home from Great Dixter plant fair last weekend, and the image of all those amazing, brightly coloured, autumn flowering beauties remained with me for days. I need this end-of-season fix to take me through the rather sombre month of November. Inevitably there were purchases that had to be made, and…

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Gardening Tips

What’s your Autumn action plan? – Grow-how tips for October

Nights drawing in, Virginia creeper acquiring its bright autumn garb, a dankness in the air – it must be October!  We all know that the weather is liable to turn vindictive at any moment from now until at least March. Let’s turn for solace to our seasonal gardening jobs such as covering the pond, and replacing…

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Plant lists

Our favourite plants for September and October

Over the years, we 3Growbags and our plant columnist Louise Sims have often discussed our favourite plants for brightening the garden in September and October.  So it occurred to us that it might be handy to compile a list of these plants as a link to where we tell you more about them.  It might just the…

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Growbag Blog

What are our favourite plants right now?

‘I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers’. We might not all be as breathlessly excited as Anne of Green Gables on this one, but she had a point. There are some marvellous plant colours and shapes in our gardens right now. Here are some of our favourites…. I’m rather in…

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Great Plants this Month

Helichrysum petiolare AGM

liquorice plant As the temperature dropped close to zero last night, I am reminded that we don’t have long to enjoy the last few weeks of our tender summer plants in containers; they are of course at their peak right now, and I’ll be looking long and hard at the most successful combinations, maybe even…

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Gardening Tips

It’s tidy-up time! Growhow tips for late September

After all the intense events and emotions of the past couple of weeks, it’s good to get back to some quiet and reflective early Autumn tasks in the garden, like tidying perennials, planting hyacinths, collecting seeds and moving evergreens… Chop, chop! Are you one of those gardeners who likes everything neat and trim through the…

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Growbag Blog

‘The Queue’ – Laura describes her wait to see The Queen

I must have looked very I incongruous as I boarded the London-bound train from Horsham at 8.30 pm. The other travellers were mainly young people dressed for a Friday night out, and there was I in a thick coat, walking boots, and a wicker shoulder bag full of sandwiches and snacks looking for all the…

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Growbag Blog

Growbags on the road!

We’re doing something different this week. We thought we’d share last week’s trip to Scotland with you.   We have always loved giving talks together (as you can see from our feature pic) – though it can be hard to juggle things in order for us all to be in the same place at the same…

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Great Plants this Month

Miscanthus nepalensis

Himalayan fairy grass This morning there was a definite chill in the air. Summer has surely given way to autumn, and this is the time of year when the ornamental grasses come into their own. In the average sized garden, it’s a mistake to grow too many different ones together, as they then lose their individual impact; so autumn is the perfect season to visit a few…

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Scotland

Linn Botanical Garden, Helensburgh

Thank goodness for people like Matthew Young. If ever a garden needed a knight in shining armour to ride in and wrestle it back from the brink it is Linn Botanical Garden. The problem with great gardens is that unlike great paintings or books, they cannot be preserved for the nation without active management. If…

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Gardening Tips

Changing times and seasons – grow-how tips for September

Saddened by the death of our Queen but so thankful for her amazing life of duty, we can’t help remembering how much she loved flowers and gardens. King Charles III has clearly inherited that very special interest in horticulture. The seasons won’t stop even if an epic era has ended. So while we remember her,…

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Growbag Blog

What sort of hedge will you plant this autumn?

September is the month we should be planning and planting new hedges, but what do you want from a hedge? This week we’re going to explore some options for you and as usual we won’t agree – for me it’s got to be a wildlife magnet, Elaine will give you properly sensible ideas for practical…