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The Gardening Coach

Catharine Howard is the Gardening Coach. Contact her for gardening advice and visit www.thegardeningcoach.co.uk for more information.

August 13, 2015 | Playing with Flowers

A friend of mine moved to the country and inherited a large and unruly garden. “How about a flower arranging course?”    This is a sure way to get intimate with your plants.  Yesterday  was a strong reminder of that advice.   I went over to local flower grower, Moat Farm Flowers owned and run by Frenchie Boscawen.  She is who also a mate and enviably has the greenest fingers round these parts.

Continue reading Playing with Flowers

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February 16, 2015 | Pattern of the DAY

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February 15, 2015 | The days of Narnia

are almost over.  Without looking at the man in the suit on the telly, who seems to know so much at long range, I can feel it.

Continue reading The days of Narnia

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February 15, 2015 | Plant colour combos for your 2015 garden

Hours of the weekend have been spent drooling over  plant catalogues and trawling websites for ferns, clematis, dahlias, green manure crops and potatoes. And the rest.  Our  garden has been shredded and reduced to passive soil (bristling with weed seeds) and hard landscaping and after hours of penitential digging we are ready to go.  But what to choose?  Like King John’s Christmas, I want everything and now.

Continue reading Plant colour combos for your 2015 garden

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January 29, 2015 | January Door

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January 22, 2015 | R is for La Ragnaia

Una ragnaia is a small wood for trapping birds – no doubt as a dinner-party delicacy.  Craig Sheppard’s magical garden La Ragnaia in San Givanni d’Asso is anything but a bird-trapping domain.  He gardens carefully, in harmony with nature and and the sprites and goods in his wood and field.

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January 19, 2015 | Q is for Quercus ilex tunnels

Seen here at Villa Cetinale, near Siena.  The evergreen oak can be oppressive in its matt evergreen livery.  In the hot high light of the south the long tunnels make a cool refuge from the sharp sun.  The shadows fissure, spangle and dance.

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January 16, 2015 | Advice on fruit trees

Fruit trees are magnificent and lovely even without the eating.  Garden designers hunt around for architectural plants and most fruit trees have this this quality in spadefuls.  A few winters ago, I was tasked to renovate a small old orchard and my tree surgeon, who is a trained artist, pruned the old trees.  Out with dead wood and years of neglect to reveal trunks and branches of sculptural beauty. Continue reading Advice on fruit trees: which type to grow

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January 14, 2015 | P is for pug tea parties

these are regularly held in the gardens of the more stately type of home.  Fancy dress is pretty much compulsory but of course the pugs change into their gear after the games and competitions.  And for the owners there is the most delicious tea.

These are fund-raising events for PDWA the charity that rescues and re-homes pugs.

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January 13, 2015 | O is for Piet Oudolf

Piet Oudolf is the maestro of perennial planting.    Aged 71 but he is still working – both designing and teaching.  He continues to innovate and  bring in change – there is nothing static about his plant palette.  The photo below is his garden.  The fantastic white spires are of   Actaea Queen of Sheba.


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