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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.

July 24, 2014 | Am I mad to go orange?

I just think enough customers have said “no yellow and definitely no orange” to spin my my mind.  I have spent this week in Norfolk in a rose field and with plenty of time, in the heat, to rethink my Pantone schemes.

Here is Alfresco:  I am in love with this rose and plan to plant it up my red brick wall along with runner beans and blue clematis. The red stamens are captivating.

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July 24, 2014 | Smelling roses

Rose de Rescht

The best way to smell a rose?  Cut the bloom and put it into the warm bowl of your hands.  Breath warm air into the flower and then inhale deeply.

The best time to do this smelling?  A damp morning after a night of gentle rain, when the sun has been up long enough to dry the the earth, and the petals and to have played gentle rays on the plant.

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July 22, 2014 | OK just this once a little bit of before and after

Here is a hoary handed son of the soil tilling – with rotavator –  this large border 17 metres long by 4 metres wide.  The photo was taken last September 2014.

The planting up was done in the last week of October.  The perennials were all either bare-rooted or in 9cm pots.  The 12 roses were bare-rooted too and went in in December.  Pretty small all round.  And here is the same border in July this year:

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July 21, 2014 | Aspirational corner: things I want but have no space for

- a grotto, for example.  This is part of the massive one at the Palazzo Pitti, Florence.

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July 18, 2014 | Visiting a plant trial ground.

I have been round a trial ground before and it is quite something to see good looking new plants that have endured  the selective breeding process, survived the cull  and made it out the other end.

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July 17, 2014 | It is barking dahlia day today

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July 10, 2014 | So what is this garden coaching malarkey?

Well, one big part of my  garden coaching  is designing gardens.  However a quantum shift has come over me and in the collaborative process, I am keen to get my customers to do the job themselves.  With guidance.   So here are two pictures of a new garden we are working on with views in and out.

Small town garden with a castle peering in above a bank that has been terraced.  My customer has a pretty good idea of what she wants – no pink for starters and the boring patch of grass up near the house is to disappear under jungly perennials with lots of verticals.    Up on one terraced level espaliered fruit trees.  We have and looked at what to save, discussed the outline ideas and begun to think of the planting.

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July 9, 2014 | The struggles of the greenhouse virgin

I have been having a bit of a fight with germination.  Left it too late for quite a few of the hardy annuals even with getting twitchy and putting seed trays in the fridge. I failed to ape nature’s seasons asking for cold chilly nights.  As for parsley, I have swilled seeds around in washing up liquid, rinsed, sieved and dried before sowing and all to wait 3 weeks for a no show.  Larkspur is equally stubborn.

Any failed seed sowings get tipped out into patches of soil in the garden… just on the off chance.  But I know that my new delivery of Franchi seeds – gherkin, custard courgette and artichoke should like July sowing.

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July 7, 2014 | I want this gate

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July 4, 2014 | Hunting for old bricks

A Suffolk reclamation yard  north of where we live and not too many miles from the sea.   The owners specialise in dismantling old unwanted barns and rebuilding them.  The timbers in the pic are there for a barn in mid reconstruct.

I love reclamation yards where you can stumble through brambles and fall in love with rusting gates and tractors.  We visited as our garden needs hard paving to go down some time in the future – not too distant – in our courtyard which is wallowing in the

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