One day I ‘got’ a garden

Well over a decade ago the Horticultural Media Association in NSW asked me to contribute to a kind of debate called ‘Gardens of the Future will have no plants’.  The timing was perfect, as Leo Schofield had recently passed on to me an article from a US newspaper about a garden made entirely of plastic plants.  In this garden, the plastic wisteria had plastic flowers added and then removed, in season.  I called the store that supplied the plants, and it was extraordinary how many different kinds were available “thirty two different hydrangeas at all stages of growth” they boasted.  I asked about lavender “Oh ‘erbs? you want ‘erbs? We have hundreds of different ‘erbs’!” Continue reading

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Would someone please tell me what to think?

I think I’m past the plant snobbery phase.  You kind of have to let it go when you observe yourself starting to really enjoy plants again that you once dismissed, and so accept what you’ve suspected for some time – that your opinions are highly unstable, and you may as well just adopt a default setting of more of less enjoying everything. Continue reading

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Contemplating the Cosmos

I ought to be ashamed of my cosmos.  And I am.

When you know how good it can be; how tall, wide, strong – muscular, even  – then you know that this is a pathetic effort, if not quite a total fail. Continue reading

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Verbascum – a personal history

Some time in the next couple of weeks – if these berserk winds don’t blow it over first – I’ll flower, for the first time, the very proud and stately Verbascum splendidum.  The build up has been richly satisfying itself, with the huge silver rosette bolting up to a great flower stem surrounded by wide clasping leaves with an elegant caudate tip that overlap like pointed titanium scales. Continue reading

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Henryi at home

Just before Christmas I was telling a friend that I’d spotted and lusted over a stunning plant of Clematis x jackmanii ‘Superba’ in our local nursery, and, though I’d planned to plant one in this garden for a while, I hadn’t bought it, for reasons that I may or may not disclose later in this post (depending on whether I can work out how to make them sound less lame). Continue reading

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Poa lab. Are we missing something?

A few years back I was checking out a stand of ornamental grasses at Chelsea Flower Show and was curious about the range of unfamiliar (and mostly evergreen) grasses on display.  I liked them well enough – particularly when grown as well as you’d expect anything on display at Chelsea to be – but couldn’t help but wonder about the management of them, long term, which is generally much trickier than that required by deciduous grasses. Continue reading

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