Poppies are, quite simply, brilliant! They are glamorous and flamboyant, yet graceful. They are bright and astonishingly diverse, yet simple to grow. It should therefore no surprise to discover that they are among the most popular plants available today. Whether they are annual or perennial in nature, they are firm favourites with experienced gardeners and green-fingered beginners alike!
Of all the shady characters I’d be happy to have in my garden, the lovely, leafy hostas (more commonly known as plantain lilies) surely are at the top of the list. Originally, hostas come from China, Korea and Japan (where they are known as giboshi). In their natural homes they flourish in dappled shade and rich, moist soil. They were first introduced to Europe about 260 years ago, and became an instant hit thanks to the luxuriant nature of their leaves, and the delicacy and fragrance of their lily-like flowers!
I really have lost count of the number of plants I learnt about as a young student gardener, that no longer exist under those names. It has also happened to one of my favourite plants of all time: the Cimicifuga. Now, and forever more, it must be known as Actaea. Regardless of any name-hanging, however, this is a plant I will never be without in my garden!
By Graham Clarke I really need to tell you about a small but beautiful range of low-growing plants that get little mention in the press, yet they are easy to grow, and when they are in flower they are dramatic, eye-catching, and will always be a talking point for anyone visiting your garden. Read all you need to know about Oxalis versicolor, more commonly known as the candy cane sorrel. And that is ironic, for I remember when I was a boy we visited someone’s garden, and my father (who was a far better gardener than I could ever be), pointed out a weed and said: "That’s creeping wood sorrel. It’s one of the worst weeds. They need to get...
Who isn’t impressed by a beautiful peony in full bloom? These plants are virtually unrivalled in their ability to bring impact and drama to a garden. Once established, they flourish for decades, bringing large quantities of flamboyant blooms in a magical range of colours, as well as outstanding, often finely cut foliage. And, as I write this, the buds on the peonies in my garden are swelling day-by-day. The excitement I’m feeling about them opening is palpable. In this blog post, I will tell you more about a special group of peonies: Itoh Peonies.