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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.
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September 15, 2014 | Plants by Post - do I rate them?

When I asked  Tim Milward of Plant Me Now how many lines of seeds they had in their catalogue he looked at me politely and I realised I was a bit of an idiot.  Plant me now, geddit?  Plants arrive as plugs or in 7cm pots and the punter plants them and tends them.

It’s neat [...]

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June 5, 2013 | Which Ivy? Where?

Polystichum setiferum

This weekend I went to Fibrex,  the nursery for pelargoniums, ivies and ferns.  The unlikely name comes from a long family history in nursery growing which started out as a rose business.  The family bought it  from a  man who had a clever  notion of how to pot the roses up for sale.  An unfashionable [...]

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January 16, 2013 | Designing with hedges

The landscapers are planting whips like anything right now.  Whips are twigs to you and me.  The cheapest are 20 to 30 centimetres  in height which seems like a slow  start  in the  first days of the life of a hedge.

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September 29, 2012 | Le Jardin Plume

Step through a hole in the hedge off a field of stubble and you’ve got the   hallmark of Le Jardin Plume:  simple restraint.  The garden, some 20 years old, was created by the Quibels to bring attention to their nursery.   It is, as you might  guess, a plantsmans’ garden.  Not many minutes in, [...]

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February 21, 2012 | The world's best nurseries: series 3

Santa’s Grotto or elves?  A very good way to write off a garden centre or nursery,  or so I used to think.  On the east coast of England the land is open and sandy and this makes for good growing ground – free draining and easy to work. Consequently there are quite a few nurseries [...]

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November 10, 2011 | Get naked at David Austin

The leaves are off, or nearly, and  I’m taking my mind  back to David Austin and February.  I went there for a day’s course on designing with roses run by the inexorable Diana Perry, fount of rose lore.  Due to dog trauma (another story altogether) I did not write a blog log but  now I [...]

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September 14, 2010 | The World's Best Nurseries Series No 2.

I have never been to Avon Bulbs in person.  Once a year in autumn, a parcel arrives with contents looking like an upmarket take-away.  Whispery paper bags with a twist and drizzle of shredded paper. Inside, the  new bulbs, salivated over previously on their stand at Chelsea.  Or in the Avon Bulbs catalogue.

The owner, [...]

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August 14, 2010 | The World's Best Nurseries Series: No 1.

Whenever I go plant shopping, lingering time is built in.  The notebook, pencil and camera tag along.  There is nothing quite like a good nursery to give ideas for planting combinations. Or to offer up a completely new herbaceous ingredient.   Experimental candidates in pots make it into the car boot to take home and [...]

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