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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 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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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, [...]

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December 22, 2014 | I is for irises

-bearded ones used en masse as ground cover as you can see them here in the garden of Villa Cetinale, Tuscany.   The flowers are fleeting but the leaves are pretty much evergreen.

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December 17, 2014 | D is for Don't be stupid and Dahlias

At a Dahlia Show you will see the  the bionic boob and tippety heels of this type of plant.   Go and and wow at a Dolly Parton of a dahlia but do not expect to find inspiration for your borders here.  Tune it down and call instead on a mate who grows them.  Below, [...]

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December 16, 2014 | C is for coleus

(equally S is for Solenostemon scutellarioides)  - plants that come from India and Thailand and get called the ‘painted nettle’.  You will either love them or hate them – seen in droves when I visited the trial grounds of Ball and Colegrave in the summer.  Run your eye down this lot, if you like them [...]

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October 10, 2014 | Yesterday I fell in love with the hop hornbeam

Ostraya carpinifolia. It was dancing in the wind at Cambridge Botanic:

Shaking hop dangly earrings in the sunny breeze.

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September 23, 2014 | Radicchio rage

I am having problems with my radicchio – or are they radicchi when they grow in a small flock like this?  Some monster has blasted through the garden shed and stolen all my seed packets and labels so I am relying on my memory.  Pretty sure that I

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