September 28, 2022
Alternatives to floral foam and making a flower grid

 I haven’t used floral foam for years, and was surprised to find, given everything we know about its contribution to microplastic pollution, that it is still available, and still frequently used by florists. Although so far no one has come up with anything quite so effective, I still wouldn't ever use it again, and there […]

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September 21, 2022
The Crevice Garden

Review of Kenton Seth and Paul Spriggs,The Crevice Garden: How to make the perfect home for plants from rocky places. Filbert Press, 2022. Although I’ve gardened for well over thirty years, I’d never encountered a crevice garden until I went on the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s gardening tour this past summer. One of the standout […]

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September 18, 2022
The trouble with white flowers

'I am trying to make a grey, green and white garden,' wrote Vita Sackville-West in The Observer in 1950. 'This is an experiment which I ardently hope may be successful, though I doubt it. … It may be a terrible failure. …  All the same, I cannot help hoping that the great ghostly barn-owl will […]

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September 7, 2022
Autumn Daze: September in the garden

Main photo: Adam Ross this is the season of lists and callow hopefulness; hundreds of thousands of bewitched readers are poring over their catalogues, making lists for their seed and plant orders, and dreaming their dreams. Katherine S. White, 'A Romp in the Catalogues', The New Yorker, 1958 It's September and there's a change in […]

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September 1, 2022
Growing Iceland poppies

Wandering through the garden centre the other day, I noticed Iceland poppies were already in stock. As their name suggests, these poppies are very hardy and can survive down to zone 6: they can be planted out in autumn and will overwinter in the garden. Technically perennials, they're more likely to be dispatched by the […]

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August 25, 2022
What to do with a glut of tomatoes

'Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad' Although I’m really just a flower person, I do venture outside my comfort zone sometimes. And while I’m not much good at growing vegetables or fruit, I do enjoy growing tomatoes because it gives me the ability to […]

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August 21, 2022
Everything's coming up daisies

Looking around my garden, I can see almost nothing but daisy-like flowers. Slight exaggeration perhaps, but there is certainly a pronounced lack in variety of form. How did I manage that? The previous owners made this into a very spring/early summer-oriented garden so given that it is now late summer this is one thing I […]

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August 15, 2022
Anemone coronaria for autumn flowers

I've been experimenting to see if I could have an autumn flowering of Anemone coronaria. I used to manage this in Scotland, although never very satisfactorily. Because of the rain we used to get there in the summers, the plants were often rather sad specimens. Here in Victoria, with the drier warmer summer, they have […]

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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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