August 7, 2022
Chantilly Snapdragons

Remember squeezing a snapdragon when you were a child to make the jaw open and snap shut? I gave one to a little girl the other day and it appears the game is still very much alive. She even used a funny voice to make the flower talk. But did you ever dress a snapdragon? […]

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July 29, 2022
Drummond's Phlox 'Cherry Caramel'

If, like me, you are easily tempted when it comes to flowers, then you probably succumbed to all the hype and bought seeds to grow Phlox 'Cherry Caramel' this year. The good news is the hype was justified - well, mostly. This annual phlox is one of the prettiest flowers I've grown in a long […]

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July 25, 2022
Sweet peas: which to grow and how to grow them

I’ve always prided myself on my sweet peas, but this year they have been exceptional. After a late start in June, they have zoomed up over 10 foot tall and my determination to control the number of stems each plant produces is equaled only by their determination to put out more. The long cool spring […]

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July 21, 2022
In praise of Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Main photo: Adam Ross I used to hate crocosmia. I can't tell you how many times I've sniffily dug every single nasty corm out of a new garden: too big, too bright, too common. So I thought. Now I know what the real problem was: I'd never gardened with hummingbirds. I did resist in the […]

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July 13, 2022
Cottagecore: mason jar bouquets

I've been having fun experimenting with mason jar bouquets over the last week or so. They're wonderfully easy things to make: there’s no need for complicated wiring, frogs, or florist’s tape, and it’s a great way to gift flowers. These bouquets are very cottagecore, I've been told, a term new to me, but I rather […]

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July 12, 2022
Claus Dalby, Containers in the Garden

Review: Claus Dalby, Containers in the Garden, Quarto, 2022 I am sorry not to be more enthusiastic about this book, as I am a great admirer of Claus Dalby. Dalby is a Danish gardening celebrity, but more widely known through his YouTube channel and his Instagram site, both of which I highly recommend. He's a […]

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July 6, 2022
Dianthus: flower of the gods

Who can resist the gorgeous scent of dianthus? Theophrastus, father of modern botany, named it the flower of the gods and the seventeenth-century herbalist John Gerard praised its ability ‘to decke up gardens, the bosomes of the beautifull, garlands, and crownes for pleasure’. You’ve got to love a multi-tasking plant. In the past I’ve grown […]

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July 6, 2022
Make a floating tea light centrepiece

The weather has not been very cooperative so far in Victoria this year, but I’m still anticipating late summer evening drinks on our new deck. When the weather decides to oblige, try decorating your outdoor space with one of these floating tea light centrepieces. They look pretty in the daytime too and provide a natural […]

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June 27, 2022
Garden Snobbery: Or, how I learned to love red

I’d just enjoyed a long season of flowers from a gorgeous Clematis montana I’d inherited with the house and, being a huge fan of clematis, I was eager to discover what the next one to bud might be. This was a very old plant that obviously hadn’t been cut back for years, a tangle of […]

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June 24, 2022
Anemone coronaria: six of the best

Anemone coronaria has been my favourite flower since I was a child, and I’ve grown them in all my previous gardens, in Scotland and in Spain. So, when I moved to Canada in late 2021, the first thing I wanted to add to my new garden in Victoria was anemones. I picked my first bunch […]

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