At Great Comp with William Dyson

Seven acres of beautifully landscaped gardens in Kent, boasting award winning perennials and more late summer colour than you can shake a stick at. When an opportunity came up to meet the garden’s curator and the man behind Dyson’s Salvias, I wasn’t about to refuse.

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Five things from Sussex Prairie Gardens

Pauline and Paul McBride know how to do summer perennials, and I’ve been keen for several weeks now to get down to Sussex Prairie Gardens to see how the plants have been coping in the heat. We chose a sweltering day for it. There may also have been cake.

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Posy practice

You may consider the assemblage of flowers and foliage won from the garden into posies an appropriate activity for a big ’airy gardener. You may not. But if it’s good enough for that Dan Pearson, it’s good enough for me.

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A gardener’s tools: the table fork

For this, the second post in the series on A gardener’s tools, we’re introduced to a fork with a difference. Carly Green of the National Botanic Garden of Wales gives us a peek into her tool roll.

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RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2018

Monday – press day at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, beneath a sun that shone with almost cruel intensity upon the show ground. So intense was the light that I’ll have to ask you to forgive this year’s photographs for being a little more washed out than usual – golden hour shots would have done the gardens more justice, but I was on site neither early nor late enough to catch the low slanting rays.

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Erigeron – a doughty daisy

Simplicity and delight in a flower, or a weedy menace? As is so often the case, it depends on your approach to gardening. One thing beyond debate is that, once established, this doughty little daisy will flower its socks off all summer long.

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

With so much to take in at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, one visit is rarely enough. I was fortunate enough to be able to get there for a second time, this time later in the day, to catch up on those gardens and plants I’d missed on press day, with a change of camera lens and a mind to focus on the details.

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

If Chelsea is to be any more than the (admittedly rather fabulous) latte froth upon the upper lip of the horticultural industry, it needs to have something to say, not only to gardeners like you and me, but to homeowners with an emerging interest in their outside space, to indoor gardeners with not so much as a balcony and, I’d venture to suggest, to park bench philosophers.

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Stihl cordless hedgetrimmers

Behind every glorious garden, whether the overriding style be neatly formal or wondrously wafty, there’s a machine-wielding gardener keeping the underlying structure in trim. It’s as necessary in a small domestic garden as a large public one, and in this post I’ll be putting machines aimed at both ends of the spectrum through their paces.

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Gardening as a career

Gardening? It’s not the career of choice for most people. Especially when there are so many other ways you could be earning a living. In this post, I explain why I took the choice to make a career of it, and try to gain an understanding of why this decision seems to cause mild discomfort for others.

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March in the garden

March 2018 – what the heck was that? Just as we were beginning to enjoy the first signs of spring, the Beast from the East brought snow and cold weather from Siberia. Twice. Thankfully for us, rumours of its return at the end of the month proved to be groundless, though our friends in the north were less fortunate. We just got very wet instead.

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A day in the life of… Gardens, Weeds & Words

A trip to Hever Castle Gardens with the Garden Media Guild. Daffodils, miles of yew an impressive Italian Garden...and an unexpected encounter with bedding plants.

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A day in the life of… Gardens, Weeds & Words

A day in the life of a garden blogger. Spring rebooted, the vernal equinox. Surely winter's finished with us now?

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Brilliant & Wild. A garden from scratch in a year

With one almighty flounce, Winter departs, and Spring asserts itself upon the outside world with a conviction that grows by the day. It’s the perfect time to be thinking about how you want your garden to be over the next year, and if that’s something you’ve not attempted before, Lucy Bellamy’s *Brilliant & Wild: a garden from scratch in a year* might just be the book for you

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January & February in the garden

From a dull grey start to a bitter, snowy end, winter has been topsy-turvy, and is now in the throes of a tantrum at being asked to go home. We may struggle to keep up; the garden, of course, takes all this in its stride.

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The Virgin Gardener Podcast

There’s a new gardening podcast in town. Co-hosted by yours truly and Sunday Times gardening columnist Laetitia Maklouf,  it’s aimed squarely at newbie garden owners and enthusiastic amateur gardeners, and comes with a no-jargon, no-nonsense approach and take-home tips aplenty from the great and the good of the horticultural world. It’s called The Virgin Gardener Podcast, and you can find the teaser episode on iTunes right now.

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When to sow chillies

Do you ever feel you’re getting buried under the weight of information and conflicting opinions on the internet? It’s as true with gardening as any other subject you might throw at Google. So in this post, I’m recommending you buy a packet of seeds and get on with sowing the contents. Then you can read the advice, contradictory or otherwise – but at least that way you’ll have avoided the procrastination hump.

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A gardener’s tools: the dissecting kit

I’m delighted to welcome Kew’s Miranda Janatka for the first post in a series on A gardener’s tools, in which different gardeners will be writing about the tools which they find invaluable in their labours, as they tend gardens and nurture plants. Having seen a photography of Miranda’s dissecting kit on her Instagram feed, I had to ask her if she’d be happy to go into the background behind the collection and, fortunately for us, she said yes.

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Rabbit damage

Undoubtedly cute in the right place, but a magnificent pain in the backside in the garden – furry critters have been wreaking havoc again. This time the rabbit damage was limited to a fig tree, but its survival is still very much in the balance.

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#thatwinterspringthing hashtag project

To the uninitiated, hashtags are probably the most confounding aspect to social media. But a little delving reveals them to be a powerful tool for cutting through the online flotsam and plucking related content out from the relentless flow of global chatter. As winter turns to spring, I’m launching a hashtag to encourage Instagram users to share their seasonal images.

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