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Growbag Blog

Why our gardens will be SO much better in 2017!

Several hard frosts in a row have put paid to any meaningful outdoor gardening activities so it is time instead to lay down some ground rules for 2017. This year I will not buy any new plant that has already given up on me a maximum of three times – in this bracket I can…

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Winter

Erysimum ‘Parrish’s’

DECEMBER:Erysimum ‘Parrish’s’ December can be short on flowers. Early bulbs, sweet scented winter flowering shrubs, and most hellebores come into their own from January onwards; but for this time of the year, my subject today is in a class of its own. I can honestly say that there is hardly a month when it is…

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Growbag Blog

What should Santa put in a gardener’s stocking?

Indoor bulbs don’t turn everyone on (and I’m thinking of Elaine here, who’s quite snooty about them), but personally charting the progress of my ‘paperwhite’ narcissus bulbs provides a little cheery anticipation during these dark days in Scotland. What though should we be buying for Christmas? When we three were together recently we discussed what we might get our gardening…

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Growbag Blog

When keeping a diary can be dangerous

Do you keep a gardening diary?  You really, really should.  I recently found myself in France without mine, having unaccountably left it behind in England, and it was positively scary.  What was the name of that unusual buddleia I had planted?  Where was I going to move those monardas to? Which willow was it that…

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Winter

Berries, hips and leaves

NOVEMBER: Berries, hips and leaves. Autumn is restful and harmonious; and if the sun shines in November, the crystal clear light is unbeatable. It is restful because unlike in springtime, there is no panic about getting on with jobs in the garden … we have all winter. One of my sisters once said to me…

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Autumn

Salvia leucantha

  Salvia  leucantha known as Mexican bush sage, is a sub-shrub reaching to about a metre in height. I grow mine in my autumn border but it’s also a really good choice for a container because long before the flowers appear, indeed showing no hint of what will come in October, the foliage alone, with…

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Growbag Blog

Overwintering tender perennials – is it worth the bother?

So you succumbed to temptation and bought a lovely salvia just starting to flower in late July and now it is still looking great but frosts are threatening and you are wondering what you should do. Salvias are a bit of a task to keep going year on year, they mainly come from places like Mexico and Africa…

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Autumn

Dahlia merckii

Now I am not a big fan of dahlias, for me the flowers are too brash and the growth rather ungainly: but here I’ll make an exception. This plant is a species, (and I hope you were paying attention to Laura’s piece and video on plant nomenclature!) so comes true from seed and is a…

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Growbag Blog

Bulb lasagne – not everyone’s favourite dish

Planting spring bulbs? Just like boiling an egg, it looks easy on the face of it but has a sneaky timing aspect that can totally b**ger things up. Memories will eventually dim of my Inverewe chess board experience. I wanted to recreate that Highland garden’s striking black and white tulip bed. What a stunner – fab-u-lous x 10.…

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Autumn

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Herbstzauber’

Now I bet you don’t know what a forb is, and nor did I until I sat down to write this piece, and it could be a good one if you play scrabble. It is a herbaceous flowering plant other than a grass. My chosen plant is a pennisetum, and I was reading a small…