Hemerocallis – Daylilies


Somehow these most heroic, varied, adaptable, gorgeous and tolerant of garden plants never quite gain top popularity with UK and Irish gardeners. All of us who grow and love them find this inexplicable, but it is sadly true. Possibly some people have been put off by growing a new Florida selection in a cold wet […]

‘Dancing’ for a single day!


Gardeners who appreciate Hemerocallis, daylilies, sometimes feel alienated. They grow, love and admire these easy, reliable, varied and stunningly beautiful plants, but find that most other gardeners despise them! Nurserymen who offer the plants are familiar with the disdainful tone of voice when potential customers say ‘Oh no, I’ve got the yellow one’, or ‘They’re […]

Somerset’s County Flower – the Cheddar Pink


There are three little pinks which are sometimes listed as British wild flowers, but are more often seen in gardens. Two of them, Dianthus caryophyllus (Clove Pink) and D.plumarius, have a long and complicated garden history and are in the ancestry of many modern pinks and carnations. Wild on the Continent, they were brought in […]

There’s a silver lining…


Euphorbia characias, in spite of embarrassing moments trying to guess the pronunciation of its name, is one of the best known and most handsome of our garden Spurges. The statuesque plants have architectural value throughout the year, and the late winter moment when new, lime-green flower heads open above the bluish evergreen foliage is always […]

Somerset Spring Comforts


Continuing the series on plants with West Country associations, Rosemary FitzGerald looks at the little flowers known by many gardeners as ‘Soldiers and Sailors’. P.Elworthy Candy’ the softest sugar pink, set in milk-chocolate coloured bracts Pulmonaria Lungworts have a long history in our gardens. The unappealing common name comes from the ‘doctrine of signatures’, when in […]

Shaping things up


Using the natural shapes and habit of plants is a joy, but some of us like a more direct kind of creativity. Topiary and management such as cloud-hedge clipping are high maintenance, but can add a really personal touch to the appearance of a garden. Even the tiniest box ball or holly pyramid in a […]

Grow Your Own


Countless gardeners now want to combine food production with a beautiful garden. Few of us have the space for a separate kitchen garden, and such a thing is hugely labour-intensive, but growing some vegetables which are attractive as well as delicious can be fitted into most schemes. Handsome perennials such as Crambe maritima Sea-kale, or […]

Creature Comforts


A crucial question in modern gardening is how the gardener views birds, insects and animals. Are they ‘pests’, ‘treasures’ or ‘threatened species’ ? The chosen attitude ties up, of course, with the question of organic practice. Do you reach for the poison chest, or concentrate on making your garden a naturally healthy habitat. What you […]

Neat or Not?


Some gardeners welcome chance effects, some love order and neatness, and plants often decide to blur the distinction. Tidy bedding on exact terraces can be admirable, but even an orderly potting shed in the neatest of gardens may gain an unintended ivy wreath ! Most importantly, you can always work with plants to please your […]



You may not have bothered to have your colours ‘read’ (at great expense) because you know very well which you like, and as Christopher Lloyd showed with such elan, flower colours can be either mixed or matched, can be planted to make brilliant clashes, or keep to the softest of palettes. Mingling plants is really […]