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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 4, 2016 | A Trip to East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens

These gardens have become a bit of a pilgrimage site.  Particularly for those of us who live in the East.  There simply are not many substantial gardens in these parts.  Not the first time I have visited, but a week or two back, I treated myself and two others to the  Full Monty Alan Grey tour with lunch.

I made a mistake.  The two  were poles apart.  Friend one, a textile designer with many years of plying her trade.  Purity and attention to detail are her watchwords.  The other friend has bright pink hair, wears bling and delights to shock.  She in turn had Bernie in tow:  he works for her.  Then of course there was  Alan, looking immaculate in tight trousers and tee shirt with fashionable leather patch.

Continue reading A Trip to East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens

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August 3, 2016 | Planting combination for August: Tall, gauzy and with presence

By suspending all blogging activities for over a year, I have made some time to coax our garden into looking  more like a garden.  It has metamorphosed from a bramble nest, through deconstruction to the builder rubble era and now has plants.

One of most useful things that I learnt when I studied landscape architecture was to choose a look for the planting style and only then to choose the plants.  This has saved me from kleptomaniac horticultural tendencies.  And no doubt masses of money too.

Continue reading Planting combination for August: Tall, gauzy and with presence

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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