autumn leaves

How old is too old, to plant a tree?

‘Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they will never sit beneath.’ (Chinese proverb). Well, I don’t know about old men, but this old lady has planted a fair few in her time. I really love trees.  There is a huge and ancient oak tree at one end of our French garden,  just like there was at our childhood home – I know my sisters will remember it well. What a mighty and wondrous thing it is, teeming with life and memory.  About 747 (747!) different species of insects and lichen alone are supported by oak...

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Sphaeralcea incana ‘Sourup’

I just love mallows, and can’t understand why they are not more popular; they have so much going for them. As a genus, sphaeralceas are sun loving, mostly hardy and very free flowering from mid-summer through to late autumn. They are undemanding but need well drained soil. We are on clay, so I often add a couple of spadefuls of grit at planting time … organic matter is good but grit is better! Many sphaeralceas make superb specimens in a pot ( ‘Newleaze Coral’ is beautiful), but I have found that Sourup prefers to be in a border where...

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Blooming weddings!

‘Those hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer’  Really? Nat King Cole clearly hadn’t experienced a Scottish July.  Depressing, particularly for anyone depending on good weather for a special event. Earlier this month gardeners in nearby Gifford unwittingly scheduled their Scotland’s Gardens open day for an afternoon of hopelessly wintery squalls AND Andy Murray’s Wimbledon triumph.  A forehand volley of bad luck. My own modest ambitions to have our garden looking half decent for our wedding at the end of August, are going the same way as some of my star plants – horizontal. I had imagined the lawn might host the...

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pink rose

Rosa bonica

JULY Rosa bonica Modern shrub rose I’ve known bonica for a long time as I first took notice of it in my mother’s garden many years ago. She grew masses of roses and therefore had that understanding of their ways that can only come from growing them. I remember wondering, when she and my father downsized, how on earth she would choose which roses to grow in their new and much smaller garden. It turned out to be easier than I thought, and bonica was on that list. I not only took note, I took cuttings; one of which is...

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