Window box plants

by Rhiannon James

Whether you have space outdoors or not, the one garden you can almost always enjoy is a window box. Outside, window boxes will transform the look of your house and welcome you home every evening with a fanfare of flowers. Inside, they can create a herb garden in your kitchen or a jungle in your hall. Our experts share their favourite window box combinations.

Shrubs for small gardens


After a love affair with perennials spanning two decades, there are signs that designers are flirting with shrubs again. In small gardens, of course, where great form and multiple seasons of interest are a must, they’ve always been a fixture, but it’s nice to know they’re now voguish as well as valuable. Bluebell Arboretum and […]

Avondale Nursery:Plants for city gardens

by Drucilla James

Avondale Nursery specialises in unusual perennials and grasses together with ferns and bamboos, and features The Library Garden alongside its plant sales area. As you would expect with a library, the garden’s collection is meticulously labelled and catalogued, but beyond that, the colours of these living leaves are mixed and graduated with a painter’s eye – unsurprising when you find that, before they created this nursery, Brian Ellis and his wife Steph worked in art and printed textiles.

RHS Flower Show: Malvern.

by Drucilla James

At Malvern, we begin our valedictions to the year’s gardening events. But the array of pinks, oranges, bronzes, deep purples and reds that the nurseries have on offer, means we can all go out in a blaze of autumn colour at this fag-end of the season.

Hydrangea heaven


Hydrangeas those erstwhile urban favourites are making a comeback. Chelsea 2014 Plant of the Year was Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’ and singer Katie Melua is currently championing the drama, colour and year-round interest of the hydrangea as the Horticultural Trades Association August Plant of the Month.These showy attention-grabbers can require large growing spaces, but whatever your choice, be it mopheads, lacecaps or panicles, Ashwood Nurseries, show you how to make the most of them in the small urban garden.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014: plants

by Rhiannon James

City gardeners have done well in the The Great Pavilion this year with Birmingham City Council’s garden commemorating the start of the First World War winning the President’s Award and receiving a visit from the Queen. If you’re keen to keep the side up, we’ve picked the best of the small garden-friendly plants at Chelsea which should attract more than a few admiring glances.

City Planters: West Ham Park Nursery

by Abigail Willis

The merry month of May is a busy one for nurserymen and Paul Harwood is no exception. As the supervisor of West Ham Park Nursery, Paul is responsible for producing the bedding plants used in the gardens and parks run by the City of London Corporation and several Royal Parks.

Hepatica: hidden treasures


The tiny, exquisite hepatica is seldom seen and yet it must be the ideal plant for the city garden, balcony or container in spring. John Massey Victoria Medal of Honour holder and award-winning specialist from Ashwood Nurseries tells us the secrets of how to make the most of these marvellous, yet little known, treasures.

Black is Back


Some think adding a dark flower colour to our gardens intensifies city gloom.In fact, far from adding an ominous cast to the garden, dark-complexioned plants add a sense of dramatic elegance, still quiet or even a sense of joyful carnival. Black can be sleek, sophisticated, glamorous and, dare I say it – extrovert. It’s the Marlene Dietrich of plant hues. So here are some suggestions for brooding marvels that are perfect for the town garden.