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Gracious as Sunshine: All About Lily Bulbs

By Natalie Ashbee Love, birth, death: the many reasons we give and receive Lilies; a flower that has starred in both history and legend. A vase full of fragrant lilies has the power to transport us to exotic climes, warm beaches and tropical rainforests. Lilies have long-enjoyed a heady relationship with both gardeners and florists alike and are high on the wish list for brides’ bouquets whilst globally being one of the most popular flowers to have in our homes. But how many of us have tried to grow these beauties ourselves? Readily available as Lily bulbs from growers such as a Farmer Gracy, Lilies are easy to grow, whether we have acres of garden or the smallest of balconies....

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Crocosmia: a vibrant, easy to grow summer garden jewel

By Lisa Cox Creating a planting scheme that provides colour and interest all year round can be challenging, especially in mid-summer when many of the early flowerers have faded and you’re waiting for the late summer stars of the show to come to life. Crocosmia (or Montbretia) are one of those brilliant plants that bridge the gap to ensure that you have interest at a time when other plants just aren’t showing off at their best. Rich hues of red, orange and yellow What I love most about Crocosmias is their arching habit and rich hues of red, orange and yellow. So often I work with clients who prefer a more elegant and subdued colour scheme of blues, pinks and...

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Naturalising: A more holistic way of viewing your garden

By Cheryl Cummings The short dreary days of mid winter seem to offer little to temp us out into the garden and away from the fireside pleasures of armchair shopping for summer colour. We are seduced by photographs of captivating flowering bulb combinations, colour is the element of our gardens which we miss most during this predominantly brown season, but there is a lot more to the vibrant flowers we love than their colour alone. Out of sight, out of mind? While we are inside bemoaning the lack of light and sunshine, outside in our gardens the earth’s natural processes are carrying on as normal. Out of sight, out of mind and underground things are stirring and if we were...

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Dahlia Days: A guide through the world of dahlias

The dahlia has come a long way since the first plants arrived in Europe from Mexico, back in the 1700s. Initially, the tubers were regarded as a new type of vegetable, but it was quickly noticed that the small flowers were both attractive and easily hybridised. The challenge was then taken up by generations of gardeners and commercial growers, to make ever better flowering plants in a range of shapes, sizes and virtually every colour except the elusive true blue.

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