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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.

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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January 10, 2015 | N is for nectarine

or could it be B for boasting.  This is the Benacre nectarine – possibly the last one in the whole world.  I bought it from Reads Nursery in Bungay and Mr Read wants to come and take cutting wood from my tree.  Second year only since planting and it fruited – the nectarines were small, insignificant and utterly delicious.

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January 7, 2015 | M is for meadows

I know that tomorrow is going to be a mother of a day, so time to get ahead with my M…. a day in July last year, when an invitation arrived to go out to lunch. Continue reading M is for meadows

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January 7, 2015 | L is for lemons

Lemons north of Rome get wheeled out in May.

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January 6, 2015 | K is for Eddie Krutysza

At home, we are pickaxing up areas of the garden.  Grappling with unwanted curbstones, squinting at the winter ghosts of ground elder and hacking through shrubs to go.  As an antidote, I have been having a go at my alphabet summary of the year.  It is a verbal amuse bouche of the things I saw and the people I met over the past 12 months.. well there is no point stretching it out forever so back to K which is for for Eddie Krutysza.

Continue reading K is for Eddie Krutysza

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December 29, 2014 | J is for jazzy planting at Pensthorpe Park

Continue reading J is for jazzy planting at Pensthorpe Park

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