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On a Chalk Hillside July 2017

How we get to design plans involves many steps.  I should say here that I know many of you are trained garden designers, but neither I nor my husband are - we are enthusiastic amateurs and this post is about the way we approach designing and building our garden.  

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On the menu for... July 2017

One of the many joys of visiting flower shows, nurseries and open gardens is discovering which ofthe many plants blooming to perfection attract the most attention from pollinators. 

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Plant of the Month July 2017

As recalled in the well worth a read, 'Growing Guide to Penstemons', the founder of what is now 'Thompson and Morgan' wrote in 1855 that should he have to pick just two plants to sell, they would be the Penstemon and the Salvia. 

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Last Month in My Garden, June 2017

A month of contrasts: cool and wet at first and then, mid-month, too hot for me to work outside . Watering has been time-consuming ...

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July's Featured Conservation Plant

Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Loofahsa Wheaten Gold’

A late summer perennial daisy raised by Anthony Brooks who bred several good plants at Elton Hall, Shropshire ...

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Cuttings from the Flower Garden - Peony

I have to admit to a slight love hate relationship with herbaceous peonies. I have always admired these amazing flowers that, if happy with their growing conditions in a sunny spot in moist, but well drained soil, stop people in their tracks when they bloom in the garden. On the other hand, as cut flowers, they can be capricious. 

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Shade Monthly March 2017

Known in its native northern California as the ‘fetid adder’s tongue’ this little plant is not well served by its name. I have lost my sense of smell, but even those with a nose say you have to get really close to it to catch the scent ...

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On the menu for... June 2017

There is so much forage available in the countryside surrounding my home that I am amazed to see pollinators showing interest in my borders in June. New garden flowers are opening daily and proving their wildlife credentials by attracting a plethora of pollinators.

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On a Chalk Hillside June 2017

Do you want to design and build your garden yourself, or do you want to hire in professionals to design it and provide you with a planting list, perhaps even get the designer to project manage contractors to deliver that agreed design?   In a garden this big, with a very limited budget our aim was to do it all ourselves, whatever “it” was.

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Plant of the Month June 2017

There is something very special about Meconopsis and crowds are often seen admiring them when displayed at shows or in gardens. The bright blue flowers occur from late spring-early summer on open heads of up to 6 flowers per spike and can be 5cm in diameter.

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Last Month in My Garden, May 2017

Fellow gardeners reported damage (hydrangeas in particular) and I gradually realised that plants I thought suffering from drought were, in fact, frosted (e.g. Corydalis temulifolia ‘Chocolate Stars’). As the wisteria buds swelled, damage to the more exposed flower-trusses could be clearly seen.

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Conservation Plants at Chelsea

Zantedeschia ‘Glencoe’ was in full flower and attracting much attention on HPS Worcestershire Group’s display celebrating the Hardy Plant Society’s Diamond Jubilee at Chelsea this year.

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Cuttings from the Flower Garden - Iris

Iris seem to flower in most months of the year. Many people can be frustrated by the fleeting blossoming of these plants, especially the well-known bearded varieties that are in full blooming mode at the moment. But I think they are wrong.

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Chelsea 2017: Silver-Gilt

Update 23 May: Silver-Gilt and we are thrilled!

Our stand was featured on BBC2 on Thursday 25 at about 8.40 pm.  Here are the plants we used on the stand. Some of them will be available at the Worcestershire Group planst sale on 10 June.

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On a Chalk Hillside May 2017

How hard has it been for you to leave your new-to-you garden for a year to :- a) discover what is growing there; b) orientation/prevailing wind/where the sun falls when; c) what the soil type is everywhere?  I was keen to get going, especially with all those plants in pots that we bought from our old garden to sort out.

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On the menu for... May 2017

Fresh flowers are opening daily and long-term spring bloomers such as Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’ and Aubrieta are still going strong. No one could ever accuse them of being members of the blink-and-they’re-gone brigade. It is the moment for Wisteria to strut its stuff.

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Shade Monthly January 2017

I had long admired Woodwardia radicans before buying it. There is a particularly fine stand of them at Powys Castle in a sort of caveroom cut into the hillside on one of the terraces ...

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Plant of the Month May 2017

Trees such as the Foxglove tree (Paulownia tomentosa), the Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum) and perhaps, most gloriously, the elegant Snowdrop tree (Halesia tetraptera), reveal charms of the garden border high up along the skyline.

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Last Month in My Garden, April 2017

The predominant colour in the garden has been white. Most of the late daffodils are white and there have been carpets of arabis and iberis. Spirea arguta has been noticeable (I have three bushes), followed by choisya, and pear and apple trees have been covered in blossom

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May's Featured Conservation Plant

If you read the March Feature on Bergenia ‘Pugsley’s Pink you will know that I was hoping to discover more about the Mr Pugsley who bred this plant.  

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On the menu for... April 2017

We have been enjoying warm, sunny weather in Norfolk and although the soil is worryingly dry, it is at least workable. I don’t remember seeing so many butterflies in April. It is wonderful to share the garden with them.

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On a Chalk Hillside April 2017

What is the picture that comes to your mind when you say English Apple or Plum Orchard? 

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Cuttings from the Flower Garden - Violets

As with so many things, the popularity of violets as cut flowers has dwindled but I would urge you to take a fresh look as this wonderful little flower, whose scent surely packs a punch way above its weight.

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Shade Monthly - Special Epimedium Edition

Dedicated to those choice woodlanders, the Epimediums. We have four articles. The first, which gives an account of the cultivation of the genus and recommends some fine cultivars is by Roger Hammond the keeper of one of the Plant Heritage National Collections ...

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April's Featured Conservation Plant

Erysimum ‘Ruston Royal’ was a seedling that was spotted in the garden at East Ruston Old Vicarage in Norfolk and is thought to be a hybrid between E. ‘Bowles Mauve’ and a plant from the Canary Island ...

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Last Month in My Garden, March 2017

The blossom of shrubs and trees has been high impact. Cornus mas was in flower at the start of the month but finished before the end; it was succeeded by Forsythia. Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’ is long-established but has never looked strong ...

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Plant of the Month April 2017

Arum is a genus of tuberous perennial plants belonging to the Araceae family, the genus is made up of around 25 species native to Europe, Northern Africa and Western Asia to the Western Himalayas. Many of the genus are known for the foul odour they give off whilst in flower, often described as resembling rotting meat or the smell of death.

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On the menu for... March 2017

Gardeners give precious border space to plants for a variety of reasons

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Propagation of Hellebores

March is a great time of the year when gently pruning and tidying the herbaceous borders for spring, to be inspired with thoughts of propagation.

On a Chalk Hillside March 2017

The polytunnel was one of the dreams we had for our new garden, and was to be our big present to ourselves when we moved.  We had only had a 60cm by 2m lean to greenhouse against the garage wall in London, which could take two growbags in it.  We wanted something bigger.  It was to be for tomatoes and peppers in the summer, and to have oriental greens in over winter. It was to be ready for our first March there – only 4 months after moving in. 

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