There may be few reasons to venture into the garden at this time of year, but scent is one of them. The rich, heady perfume of certain winter-flowering shrubs can blow away the cobwebs and brush off the worst of the winter blues.
A plethora of amazing facts – which plants are the tallest and smallest, the smelliest and deadliest – have been collated by Christina Harrison, a specialist in plant ecology and garden history, and Lauren Gardiner, a research fellow at Kew, for their latest book, Bizarre Botany, an A to Z revealing some of the quirkiest stories about plants.
The Japanese maple, or acer, is one of those supremely elegant plants with fine, fern-like foliage in colours to die for, from deep burgundy to pink and white, many producing a brilliant display of intense hues in autumn.
Are your borders looking overgrown and overcrowded? If some of your stalwart shrubs and perennials have outgrown their space or simply aren’t thriving in their current position, it may be time to move them.
Ruth Pavey visits a community garden in a gap between buildings in WC1, a pub in Kentish Town wreathed in hanging baskets and window boxes, and a verdant hidden courtyard off Highgate Road, all entries in this year’s Camden in Bloom awards.
The bank holiday is a great opportunity to spend some serious time in your own garden but really keen gardeners can use the extra day to visit other people’s outside space for inspiration or just plain lusting over.
In the last decade, hedgehog numbers have gone down by 30 per cent due to a variety of factors including habitat loss and changes in farming techniques, according to The Wildlife Trusts, which estimates there may be less than a million left in the UK.
Do you have a tall space you’d like to fill with fragrant blooms? Or perhaps an eyesore you want to mask? The answer may be in a carefully chosen climbing plant, whether it’s roses around the door or velvet blue wisteria dripping from the house wall, fragrant sweet peas in a pot to enjoy as soon as you open the patio door or an arbour covered in the saucer-sized clematis blooms.
For some time now we’ve all known that gardening is among the best pastimes for both physical and mental wellbeing – but it’s also being used to help rehabilitate prisoners and give them hope for the future.