Tricks to formalise your garden

We’ve all been told that’s it’s in the winter months that you appreciate the structure of your garden, but as I have had to remind E and C on numerous occasions over the years, (generally in the aftermath of boozy parties) taking things to excess is rarely a good idea for those of us in the mainstream of life. If you have several acres and a team of precision gardeners on hand then yes you can go for an unadulterated grand design, such as at the entrance to the glasshouse at Wisley, by garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith and our...

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Euphorbia stygiana – Azores spurge

This is an interesting euphorbia at any time of the year, but it really comes into its own in the winter, most especially during a cold snap when some of the lower stem leaves turn a brilliant pillar-box red. It’s not a massive blast of colour; it is one of those small delights that catch you unawares as you turn a corner. E stygiana is one of the rarer species, less often seen than E mellifera to which it is often unfairly compared. Its habit is quite different, lax even, open, and much broader than tall. Ours is at least...

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Sorting Spades and Pruning Late Clematis – Grow-How Tips for early February

With the lengthening days and snowdrops making their entrance, thoughts are definitely turning to the glorious gardening year ahead. So let’s get cracking on some handy tasks to set the scene like top-dressing plants in pots, taking some root-cuttings, and cleaning up the tools ready for the great Spring Push……. TOP-DRESSING FOR TOP SHRUBS Many, many people grow shrubs in pots for all sorts of reasons. For instance: to save on space; to give the plant the specialist soil it likes; for moveability if the plant is less than fully hardy or only gorgeous for a short season………..etc. The temptation is...

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Six gardening trends for 2020

I know that in terms of clothes fashion (trousers from Lands’ End, jumpers from Woolovers: job done), I am a big disappointment to my older and younger sisters who are both secretly wannabe Kardashians, but trust me when it comes to gardening trends I am dynamite compared with either of them. So what are my predictions for what we gardeners should be turning our attention to in 2020?1. Seaside plants. I don’t want to sound too apocalyptic but we do now need to prepare for climate Armageddon, and seek out plant species that can survive in hostile environments. Eryngiums...

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