My must-have Sedum

Sedums are extremely bee friendly

No matter what else happens in my garden there is one plant that I couldn’t be without: Sedum spectabile, or as I should now call it Hylotelephium spectabile. (Botanists at the RHS have changed the scientific name of this class of hardy herbaceous perennials, but I suspect most gardeners will continue to refer to them as Sedums for some time…

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Kinver Open Gardens

Last weekend I was struck down by a severe bout of garden envy, a perplexing condition of conflicting symptoms that leaves the afflicted feeling both deflated and inspired in equal measure. In fact, I spent two gloriously sunny afternoons ambling around the back gardens of Kinver, a rural village in the West Midlands, with friends who share my enthusiasm for…

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Plug plants

Well-rooted plug plants

Plug plants are a terrific way of adding variety to your garden without the hassle of raising everything from seed or spending a fortune on full-grown plants. This year I made the most of a couple of early offers from online plant retailers (in one case, 72 perennial plants for the cost of postage and packing only!), and have been…

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Pansy makeover

Winter-flowering violas are a splash of colour in Spring too

Remember those winter-flowering pansies and violas you planted back in the autumn? They are probably looking a bit ragged right now. Mine certainly were. But give them a bit of TLC, and these hardy little plants are sure to reward you with a pretty flush of Spring blooms. I’ve just been giving mine a bit of a makeover. It’s the…

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Hidden Hellebores

The glory of Hellebores revealed

March may be filled with the sunny glow of the daffodil, but it has a loyal compatriot in the tough, cold-hardy Hellebore. These harbingers of Spring thrive side-by-side in the flower borders around my pond, and together with the early-evening song of a vociferous blackbird, they mark the turning of the season. Hellebores have a demure charm, with gently nodding…

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15 minutes of white

When the Beast from the East met Storm Emma it was no fairytale. With huge swathes of the UK under red weather warnings (risk to life) and the Met Office urging us to keep ourselves safe from the onslaught of icy Siberian winds and heavy snow, the weather us Brits so like to talk about was suddenly worth talking about….

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Give wasps a break

Wasps on rotting pear

Wasps get a bad rep at this time of year, because at the end of August they become obsessed with what we’re eating and drinking. Unfortunately, the resulting human–wasp encounters often end up in (human) tears and/or a squashed wasp. But I say, be kind to wasps, because although they might be a bit annoying right now, most of the…

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Hungry hedgehogs

Hedgehogs feeding

Ironic that it was Hedgehog Awareness Week last week, because here in our small back garden in Hampshire we have been becoming increasingly hedgehog aware. It started as a bit of a mystery. Every morning we would find the cage on top of our bird ground feeder knocked askew, and the remains of the birds’ mealworms and suet devoured. A ratty visitor perhaps?…

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