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Rock Plants, Alpines – what are they?

Every year millions of alpine or rock plants are sold in garden centres, nurseries and on line. But how often do you see them in gardens? Or at least how often do you see them well used in gardens? Fortunately the badly constructed “currant bun rockery” is not as fashionable…

Top trends in cut flowers

  The range of cut flower and foliage material available today is truly amazing; how it has changed and evolved over the years! When I first started in the cut flower world, over forty years ago fall flowers were mainly spray chrysanthemums, chrysanthemum blooms and dahlias. Cabbages were something you…

The First Fruits of Fall

I love the soft, mellow light of autumn days and the warmth of colour and texture in the garden.  As the leaves of deciduous trees start to turn late flowers shine in the border veiled by a tracery of grasses. I cannot claim to be a massive fan of family…

How to grow the perfect hedge: surrounding, dividing and enhancing your garden the greener way

  When you think about it hedges were one of the original foundations of garden design. Sometimes a formal structure close to the house against a rural landscape.  Evergreens were trimmed and trained to create patterns: parterres, knot gardens, mazes. They were used to create rooms and divisions of space,…

Sempervivums – house leeks; hardy succulents

Sempervivums, hardy succulents of the family crassulacae are usually referred to as house leeks, or sometimes as live forever, or occasionally hen and chickens. The botanical name sempervivum comes from the Latin word ‘semper’- meaning forever, and ‘vivus’ meaning living. These plants are survivors, able to exist with little soil…

The Gardens of Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Flower Show is internationally renowned as the horticultural event of the year in America.  To many it is often called the ‘Chelsea’ of the US, but this description does it little justice, its loud, it attracts huge visitor numbers and the displays are staggering in the sheer tenacity…

Kale – superfood, gourmet vegetable or cattle fodder?

Isn’t it interesting how something that has been around since time immemorial suddenly becomes trendy? Recently hailed as a superfood with almost magical powers, kale has enjoyed the ultimate vegetable renaissance. Until the middle ages kale was the most commonly cultivated vegetable crop in all Europe. Just like broad beans…

The New Best Apple Trees for Small Gardens; Starline

Single stemmed fruit trees, grown like free-standing cordons are nothing new. Ballerina apples have been around for a few years; their appeal is their slender habit which takes up little space in the garden. Traditional fruit trees need room, even when grown on a semi-dwarfing root stock. Gardens are getting…

Spring stunners for pots

Prepare Now for Spring Bulbs There is no shortage of pots and containers in our garden: grouped around the terrace, on the steps and all around the house. Most of them are planted permanently with shrubs and perennials; these form the foundation of our container planting schemes. This leaves the…

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – flowers after The Games

I recently paid a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to take a look at how the planting was faring after the first stages of transformation following London 2012. I must admit I have been a little sceptical about the prairie and meadow planting in the longer term. Lovely…