Day 199: Aralia cordata 'Sun King'

Some people love a zingy flower clash, all bright colours and an irreverent disregard of harmony. Others prefer their interest to be generated from the contrast between foliage forms…

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Day 198: evening sun

A certain insouciance begins to infiltrate our garden at this point of the year. It’s as if some plants suddenly decide to let themselves go…

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Day 197: Althaea cannabina

The latter half of July should, if the weather’s behaving itself, bring blue skies and Althaea cannabina to my garden…

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Day 196: stellar pelargoniums

Of all the pelargoniums, the stellars are among my favourite to grow…

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Day 195: bear’s breeches

My acanthus is flowering. Not prolifically, but noticeably, two flower spikes held aloft, towers of purple and white flowers in that characteristic arrangement that gives the plant its common name…

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Day 193: rice-paper plant

If you’d suggested to me ten years ago that I’d develop a hankering for plants that create a tropical atmosphere, I’d have choked on my cucumber sandwich and told you to toddle off down my lavender-lined path…

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Day 192: ox-eye daisy

I’m fairly certain I’ve never yet met an ox, let alone looked one in the eye, but it always occurred to me that a more appropriate common name for the Leucanthemum vulgare would be the “fried-egg daisy”…

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Day 191: Geranium 'Claridge Druce'

My fondness for hardy geraniums is a matter of record – beautiful, hard to kill, versatile, and great for pollinators. Pink flowered Geranium x oxonianum ‘Claridge Druce’ is a particularly bomb-proof variety…

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Day 190: sneezeweed

There are several things in the garden that make me sneeze at this time of year, but helenium, or sneezeweed, isn’t one of them…

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Day 189: lemon catnip

It’s taken me years to appreciate nepeta. Perhaps, as with our feline friends, catnip doesn’t quite get us all in the same way…

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Day 188: cool water

Topiary and water features – two of the design elements that play into the narrative we gardeners like to spin ourselves that somehow we can contain nature and make her dance to our tune…

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Day 187: give the devil his due

The first week of July, and it’s noticeably warmer in the garden – almost uncomfortably toasty. It’s not escaped my attention that its at precisely this time every year that Lucifer appears…

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Day 186: pheasant berry

Some plants are real bruisers, but I wouldn’t be without them. Himalayan honeysuckle, or pheasant berry (Leycesteria formosa) is one…

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Day 185: sowing again

Gaps are appearing. Holes in plantings where earlier perennials have flowered and are being cut back and annuals have done their thing…

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Day 184: Hydrangea 'Annabelle'

By some crazy act of serendipity I’ve managed to get Hydrangea aborescens ‘Annabelle’ to grow through the deep red foliage of the Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’…

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Day 183: melange

I’ve decided to christen this particular planting style as the “melange”, a word which all proud Europeans among us will instantly recognise as the French mot juste for a mixture…

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Day 182: respect your elders

I like to spare a thought for the biennial and annual plants I’m pulling out. They’ve put on their floral show and now, presumably, are good for nothing but the compost…

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Day 181: dog-friendly gardens

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. This was certainly true of us yesterday, as we pitched up at the stunning Hever Castle gardens just before noon on the hottest day of the year…

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Day 180: going over

Suddenly, with the longest day behind us, my gardening mind is filled with lists of plants ‘going over’ and requiring ‘cutting back’…

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