Plants in the garden

Articles on plants: what they are, where they come from, who found them and what people feel about them. And pictures of plants.

There is a lot more to say about plants than simply how to grow them, and that is what this section is about. Martin Stimson, Head of the School of Horticulture Writtle College, Essex, writes a regular piece about plants that attract him. There will be photographic features with th photographer saying why she/he was attracted to photographing a particular plant, and articles about plant histories and making gardens with plants. Please contact us if you have anything to say about plants – how they affect you, what combinations work, why a plant causes a gasp of delight, or a breath-stopping moment – as they do….

We invite ideas for articles, to include pictures, about specific plants or groups of plants; anything except how to grow them – unless they are VERY exotic. There are plenty of magazines and websites for that. Please see ‘how to submit’ section.

Plants Articles

Due to the length of content and the many pictures we include, some articles may take more than a minute to download – please be patient – it is worth it!


Winter Jasmine – By Martin Stimson

This month, in his own ‘Winter’s Tale’, Martin travels to his birthplace for an encounter with a Winter Jasmine. On the way, he meets two common plants, the Hawthorn, and the Dogwood, which are often overlooked in preference for the extravagant and rare…. [Read full article]

Skimmia – by Miriam Heppell

I wanted plants that would survive shade, clay soil, provide year round interest and apart from a few spades of our homemade compost require no maintenance.The answer was Skimmia and the photographs that follow are my new plants. The Skimmia Genus originates from the woodlands of Japan… [Read full article]

Winter Bloomers – By Martin Stimson

Abandonment and neglect run against the very purpose of gardening, but to reward your spirit and increase the number of winter blooms Iris unguicularis needs to be largely ignored… [Read full article]

Autumnal Harmony – by Miriam Heppell

At this time of the year, the changing trees tend to take centre stage. For this portfolio however, I decided to look for Autumn colour on a smaller scale and particularly at harmonious planting, which can provide a wide palette of seasonal colour, late into the year. The photographs… [Read full article]

‘Blue Fingers’ – By Martin Stimson

“That’s disgusting!” comes the cry of a small child as they pick up the pods and squeeze its sides. “Yuk it’s slimy!” another one shouts. The pods in question resemble a handful of human fingers, now lying scattered on the floor… [Read full article]

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – by Miriam Heppell

Hampton Court Flower Show is a wonderfully diverse festival of gardening, set in glorious surroundings. The garden themes ranged from self sufficiency to Shakespeare, incorporating community groups, colleges and charities alongside designers and artists… [Read full article]

Agave Abrupta

…This plant was about to flower at Kew… “The flower spikes are very large, reaching 10 metres or more. Its bright yellow-green flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds in the wild.” [Read full article]

Fremontodendron – By Martin Stimson

…The heat trapped in this space is considerable but perfect for the Fremontodendron Californicum or Flannel Bush I acquired 2 years after moving in…. [Read full article]

RHS Chelsea Flower Show – By Miriam Heppell

Visiting RHS Chelsea flower show gardens can be rather like looking at wedding hats; beautiful, exquisitely designed for one show and not intended for everyday…. [Read full article]

A Dated Garden Part 4 (last part) – By Jane Gibbon

Going back to basics is very much my choice when it comes to daylilies, that way I get a scented one, i.e. Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus (left)…[Read full article]

Bowled over by Tree Heaths – By Martin Stimson

A friend of mine used to turn wood on a lathe. He did this as a hobby, not for a living. Its an absorbing pastime, demanding concentration, skill and creativity. Any scrap of reasonably sized timber from any tree or large shrub would … [Read full article].

Late Spring Picture Portfolio – Miriam Heppell

Many of my images are taken with a macro lens. This enables me to take photographs at very close distances to the subject and reveal details that the casual eye may not see… [Read full article].

A Dated Garden, Part 3: The horticultural re-creation of a Victorian garden – by Jane Gibbon

As lavender is scented it’s one of my must-haves and, conveniently for my limited compost supply, it thrives in unfed soil… – Part 3 [Read full article]

Disappearing Dicentras – By Martin Stimson

After one of the coldest and seemingly longest winters for many years, and with spring looming, Martin Stimson outlines some very personal plant orientated reflections on Seasonality…. [Read full article].

Early Spring Picture Portfolio – Miriam Heppell

The extremely cold temperatures of late winter and early spring have not deterred those plants and flowers that began pushing their way through the hard, frozen ground… [Read full article].

A Dated Garden, Part 2: The horticultural re-creation of a Victorian garden – by Jane Gibbon

… if I’m only planting one rose that leaves me with space for a second climber. Or should that be a wall shrub, or a shrub that’s crown lifted? And I need some evergreen interest for winter. I have privet in mind… – Part 2 [Read full article]

Don’t just stand and stare – By Martin Stimson

Martin Stimson, Head of School of Horticulture Writtle College, continues his very personal accounts of plants that mean something to him. This month he writes about the Witch Hazels… [Read full article].

Winter Picture Portfolio – Miriam Heppell

After the symphony of Autumnal colours it would be easy to hang up my camera until Spring, but then I would mean miss, those bright and feisty plants that insist on giving a good show throughout the darker days…[Read full article].

A Dated Garden, Part 1: The horticultural re-creation of a Victorian garden – by Jane Gibbon

Jane Gibbon wanted a garden with plants true to the period of her house. This is the story of her research and the creation of the garden… – Part 1[Read full article]

A touch of the Himalayas in East Anglia – By Martin Stimson

As I drove towards the small Essex town of Kelvedon, I was reminded of a walled vegetable garden tended by my grandfather. He was a well respected Head Gardener for the Marquis and Marchioness of Huntley and he often… [Read full article]

Set light to your garden!

The change in colour of trees and shrubs in the countryside, and in our gardens gives me great pleasure each year. Yet for some people, they think it signals the end of the growing season. I view it differently….[Read full article]

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