Plants

Plant hardiness ratings explained

You may have noticed in the magazine that we use hardiness ratings in our plant descriptions. Hardiness ratings provide a standard by which gardeners can tell which plants are likely to survive in a specific location. But what do the figures means? Here's an explanation.

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Hardiness ratings

You may have noticed in the magazine that we use hardiness ratings in our plant descriptions. Hardiness ratings provide a standard by which gardeners can tell which plants are likely to survive in a specific location. But what do the figures means? Here's an explanation.

When we buy a plant, there’s always the temptation to make an impulse purchase. Yet the first question that should pop into a gardener’s head is ‘will it actually thrive in my garden?’

In a climate as varied as the British Isles, one of the main factors used to work this out is whether it can survive the winter outdoors unaided – what we call ‘hardiness’.

Thalictrums

Often thought of as tall, airy plants with finely cut foliage and a froth of flower, meadow rues are, in fact, much more varied. Here are Val Bourne's recommendations. 

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Thalictrums

Often thought of as tall, airy plants with finely cut foliage and a froth of flower, meadow rues are, in fact, much more varied. Here are Val Bourne's recommendations. 

Gardeners invariably think of thalictrums, or meadow rues, as tall, airy plants with ferny foliage and slender stems topped by mauve flowers. They take their name from Thalia, one of the Greek muses, and often exude a delicate, willowy charm that few of us can resist. Thalictrums have much to offer as garden plants and many have the rare qualities of a delicate, understated elegance and an strong architectural presence. Here Val Bourne recommends 16 of the best. 

 

Join the debate on the future of landscape design: 7-25 September 2016

The International Meeting of the Landscape and Garden is an annual cultural and horticultural event held in Bergamo, Italy, that sees an international audience gather to discuss key elements in planting and design: 7-25 September 2016. Find out how you can join in.

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Bergamo's Piazza Vecchia ©Fabio Toschi

The International Meeting of the Landscape and Garden is an annual cultural and horticultural event held in Bergamo, Italy, that sees an international audience gather to discuss key elements in planting and design: 7-25 September 2016. Find out how you can join in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colourful plant combinations

Here are five inspiring plant combinations from a romantic Dutch garden, planted in English style, that focus on bringing colour and vibrancy into the garden. Photography by Sietske de Vries. 

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Colourful plant combinations

Here are five inspiring plant combinations from a romantic Dutch garden, planted in English style, that focus on bringing colour and vibrancy into the garden. Photography by Sietske de Vries. 

De Tuinerie is a Romantic English-style garden with garden rooms and herbaceous borders near Groningen in the Netherlands. Designer Alie Stoffers has a passion both for plants and finding the perfect colour combination to create exuberant borders. Here she explains the vibrant plant schemes in the garden. 

 

Bold plant combinations for summer borders

Four plant combinations to add colour and drama to your summer borders. 

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Plant combinations for borders

Four plant combinations to add colour and drama to your summer borders. 

Malverleys in Hampshire is a garden filled with colourful drifts of dreamy planting. Its numerous garden rooms allow for variety and makes the garden a wonderful place to explore. Head gardener Mat Reese is the brain behind the design and here you can see four of his stunning plant combinations for summer borders. 

 

WEDDING RING BORDER

Make Romanian strawberry jam

Gardener and cook Jojo Tulloh shares a recipe for strawberry jam with a twist. 

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Make Romanian strawberry jam

Gardener and cook Jojo Tulloh shares a recipe for strawberry jam with a twist. 

Romanian Strawberry Jam

 

Bring back the buttonhole

Join us in our campaign to bring back the buttonhole. 

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Bring back the buttonhole

Join us in our campaign to bring back the buttonhole. 

Join the Gardens Illustrated campaign

 

 

When we recently spotted a dapper chap wearing flowers casually tucked into his lapel, we realised just how lovely a buttonhole can be. And what better way is there of enjoying the beauty of plants up close?

Pink display for container planting

Gardener Jacky Mills captures some of the lightness of early summer with a stunning container display that celebrates the freshness of May's flowers. 

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Container planting ideas

Gardener Jacky Mills captures some of the lightness of early summer with a stunning container display that celebrates the freshness of May's flowers. 

At this time of year the lanes around our house in the Welsh Marches are awash with froths of cow parsley, flecked with pink from red campion and ragged robin. Lines of hawthorn hedge, smothered in creamy-white flowers, are frequently interrupted by majestic copper beeches, rising up resplendent in their distinctive purple foliage. I chose a dark-leaved form of Actaea simplex for the foundation of this pink-and-white arrangement.

Flowering dogwoods

Flowering dogwoods are often overlooked but their glorious early summer flowers are a delightful addition to the garden. Horticulturist Andy McIndoe recommends some of the best. 

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Flowering dogwoods

Flowering dogwoods are often overlooked but their glorious early summer flowers are a delightful addition to the garden. Horticulturist Andy McIndoe recommends some of the best. 

Cornus is a genus for all seasons. Known as dogwoods or cornels there are around 60 species of Cornus, ranging from low, creeping, sub shrubs to large trees. Those grown for their leaves are some of the most beautiful foliage shrubs. Dogwoods grown for the colour of their stems light up the winter garden. Flowering dogwoods wisely hold back their floriferous performance until early summer, after any possible competition from our more familiar flowering trees. Here are some of the best flowering dogwoods. 

Gnocchi with sage butter

A simple, satisfying recipe that draws attention to the rustic flavours of sage and garlic. 

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Gnocchi with sage butter

A simple, satisfying recipe that draws attention to the rustic flavours of sage and garlic. 

Herbs have an amazing ability to lift the flavour of any dish. Sage is perhaps one of the most common garden herbs; its frost-hardy, low maintenance and evergreen, producing flavourful leaves throughout the year. In the May issue of Gardens Illustrated, herb expert Jekka McVicar lists the essential culinary herbs that no gardener should be without, you can see the list here, and shares recipes that celebrate both the appearance and flavour of some of the most well known garden herbs.

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