Lose yourself in plants – GrowHow tips for early October

We’ve reached October 2020, and it has to be true that most of us, if not all, stand amazed and appalled each day at how the human world has changed for the worse in nine short months. Even as we move towards late autumn and winter, let’s turn with pleasure and thankfulness to our plants for a while, and lose our thoughts in such matters as sowing sweet peas, planting trees and growing some leaves for winter meals………………………. Sowing sweet peas Ah sweet peas! Beloved of romantics everywhere and the quintessential English garden annuals. They have that lovely combo...

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Yearning for cottage garden comfort?

It really pains me when I have to admit my older sister Elaine is right (thank heavens my younger sister Caroline is always wrong). Elaine insists that cottage gardens are the ultimate feel-good gardening style whilst I’ve always loved experimenting: gravel, tropical, prairie…. But this spring I have a sudden yearning to be surrounded by the gentle familiarity of simple cottage garden plants. Elaine of course already has the pretty cottage garden essentials of roses, clematis and honeysuckle in place so is going to be really smug this week. How am I going to catch her up? Cheat, that’s...

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10 best plants to give at Christmas

Let’s help the planet by giving plants as Christmas presents this year. If you choose wisely you can give something that not only looks lovely on the day but is a great investment for years to come (so this rules out those factory-produced poinsettias Caroline buys en route at a garage forecourt) As the most discerning sister you can rely on me to give top choices for plant gifts which not only show that necessary flash of festive colour in the depths of winter, and will do so for many winters to come….. Camellia ‘ Yuletide’ – Top of the...

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How to have cheap romance in your garden

Nothing adds an air of intrigue and romance into your garden like climbing plants. Draping languorously with sensual tendrils and evocative scents. But they can be expensive….so here are our tips on when you can cut corners and grow your own, and, just as importantly, when you can’t. Let’s start with the classics: sweet peas, clematis and wisteria. The pea family can be grown easily from seed. Elaine was patronising about my fledgling sweet peas last week – I already knew that I had let my ‘Cupani’ and ‘Painted Lady’ babies get a bit leggy without her parading the photographic...

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