Day 258: roses in the shade

The roses keep going, whatever I throw at them. In this garden it’s mostly dappled shade, especially at this end of the year – as a rule of thumb roses should have at least four to six hours of direct sun daily…

Read More
Follow

Day 257: Echinacea 'Southern Belle'

I’m not sure how I feel about ‘fun’ flowers, but there’s something about this pink coneflower Echinacea purpurea ‘Southern Belle’ that makes me smile…

Read More
Follow

Day 256: ragwort

Ragwort gets a bad rap for being poisonous to horses, which it is, but that’s hardly the fault of the wildflower, and rather more of a system that manages to package it up in feed for domesticated beasts…

Read More
Follow

Day 255: Allium 'Summer Beauty'

When it comes to alliums the larger varieties often steal most of the glory. Quite rightly, many of us know ‘Purple Sensation’, while diehard ornamental onion fans will go big or go home with christophii or giganteum

Read More
Follow

Day 254: snowberry

We’ve arrived at that time of year where I concede that there might be some point in the existence of the snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) – at least for the gardener…

Read More
Follow

Day 253: pelargonium cuttings

Pelargoniums must be one of the absolute best things for the clumsy gardener (raises hand) to grow, for the simple reason that any bit you might accidentally snap off is almost certain to grow into a new plant…

Read More

Day 252: Japanese lily

Lilies add just that little flavour of the exotic to the garden. They’re not hard to grow (always assuming you can keep the dreaded lily beetle at bay – squish, ewwww...)…

Read More

Day 251: by the back door

Some of the best advice for new gardeners I’ve ever read (it was in Alys Fowler’s The  Thrifty Gardener) is to start your garden at the back door…

Read More
Follow

Day 250: hitchhikers

It’s never just about the flowers. The flamboyant attention grabbers (the rude bits of plants, let’s never forget that) might be the gateway drug to a lifelong horticultural habit, but anyone who’s been gardening for more than a single season knows that the garden is a complex web of relationships…

Read More
Follow

Day 249: nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are irrepressible, you plant them one year and they come back over and again, wandering out from their anchoring point in the soil and sending questing stems in all directions…

Read More
Follow

Day 248: planting combinations

One of the joys of gardening is in trying out different planting combinations. We pour over pictures in glossy magazines and now on social media, visit the gardens of other people when we’re able and dissect their beds and borders to the nth degree…

Read More

Day 247: Eurybia divaricata

I still haven’t got used to this not being Aster divaricatus since the taxonomic boffins changed the names about, but the common name remains the white wood aster and I feel my tardiness is at least partly justified…

Read More
Follow

Day 246: Veronicastrum

As descriptive plant names go, Culvers root, or black root, fails rather spectacularly by failing to conjure up a holistic impression of Veronicastrum virginicum, concentrating as it does on the subterranean parts…

Read More
Follow

Day 245: Zinnia 'Queen Red Lime'

The annual I have the most fun growing from seed – Zinnia elegans ‘Queen Red Lime’ – has a fascinating flower that’s different every day…

Read More
Follow

Day 244: sea kale and rose hips

It takes a hardy character to withstand the harsh conditions by the coast – thin soils, fierce sun and constant buffeting by salt-laden winds, but nature is nothing if not inventive and many plants are perfectly adapted to this situation…

Read More
Follow

Day 243: Echinacea 'Green Twister'

Green and pink and... quite honestly, a bit bonkers – Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Twister’ is a refreshingly interesting take on the bog standard pink echinacea (Day 220)

Read More
Follow

Day 242: bunny-tail grass

A delicate annual grass often grown for the vase, where the long slender stems and fat fluffy ‘bunny tail’ flowers of Lagurus ovatus are valued in either fresh or dried arrangements...

Read More
Follow

Day 241: Cosmos 'Purity'

There are so many varieties of cosmos now, all wonderful in their own way. But Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity’ was the first I grew from seed many years ago, and still today the simple white version outperforms all others…

Read More
Follow

Day 240: Too soon to tidy

With the best will in the world, together with a moderate effort at conscientious irrigation, things are getting a bit crispy in the garden right now. I could begin to tidy up the beds and border…

Read More
Follow

Day 239: Rudbeckia hirta 'Cappuccino'

If its near relative Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ (Day 208) can be considered a bit of a perennial workhorse in the summer borders, Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cappuccino’ is most definitely a show stopper…

Read More
Follow