Climate Change and the Average Gardener: Reality Check

I took a walk around the garden a few days ago, making a mental list of what needed pruning or moving this weekend and was horrified to see so much winter damage on my broadleaf evergreen shrubs and even some evergreen perennials. Many of these plants have been in the garden for 7 years or…

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The New Forsythias

My dog-eared  copy of Dr. Hessayon's book Trees & Shrubs (1983 edition) states that "Gardens are brightened each March and April by the masses of yellow flowers on the leafless branches [of forsythia]." It then goes on to warn of its two enemies; birds who eat the buds and gardeners who hack the shrub to…

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Bringing Sunshine to Winter Days

There are only so many grey days I can take. Seattle isn't exactly known for its winter sunshine, but after several days of relentless freezing fog I'd had enough. I even went to the lake for a swim – usually a panacea for all things grey, and while it was wonderful in its zingy 'now-I-know-I'm-alive'…

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New(er) Shrubs That Still Perform

It generally takes a few years to assess new shrubs. For example, the habit can initially be nicely compact yet after a few seasons they may resemble a gangly teenager. Or what you thought was going to be a low maintenance, drought tolerant, and deer-resistant specimen proved to be a demanding primadonna. As the gardening…

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A Visit to Breezy Knees Gardens

Described by Monty Don as "a beautiful modern garden created on the grandest possible scale",  Breezy Knees is situated on the eastern outskirts of York, England. I was thrilled when my friend Jill suggested we visit last month while I was staying with her  – but have to say I think good old Monty undersold…

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