Comfrey for bones

A fall in the family means I’ve had broken bones on my mind lately. This particular break (my mother’s broken shoulder) is going to need the best medical science has to offer to make it better but in days gone by, people often turned to the garden for a remedy.

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Instant city garden oasis

Garden designer Robert Boyle’s client had dreams of a very private city garden, only to discover the adjoining property, which they had just purchased to create their back-garden oasis, would be overlooked and dominated by a large development on a neighbour’s property.

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Sweet pea breeding

Developing a new plant variety can take a long time. The packets of sweet peas I am going to plant in my garden represent a lifetime’s work for one plant breeder. Dr Keith Hammett has been breeding better sweet peas for more than 60 years – initially in England and for the past 50 years in his adopted home New Zealand.

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Art in the landscape in Provence

I have quite a fondness for the south of France, even when the days are cold, crisp, and still. Perhaps in Provence the lavender in the heat can no longer tickle the nose, but the shimmering autumn colour can dazzle the eye as you drive through the rolling hills.

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The rise of the Instagram gardener

What has the world come to that we are reducing everything to a series of words pre-empted by a hash tag? #gardening #pot plants #indoors  #foliage . Whatever the less social media savvy might think, social media is very much part of the modern world. It’s here to stay and is influencing and shaping modern gardening in a positive way.

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Malahide Castle gardens

Malahide Castle and its gardens, north of Dublin city in County Dublin, are a very worthwhile visit for at least three reasons. The first is the historic Malahide Castle itself, owned continuously for about 800 years by the Talbot family. The lands and harbour of Malahide were granted to founder Richard Talbot by Henry II in return for his part played in the Anglo- Norman invasion of Ireland.

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Olive Pink: A life in flowers

“Neither Art nor Science are very materially remunerative professions but very soul-satisfying both.”  OLIVE PINK TO WILLIAM CROWTHER, 1935.  A fiercely independent woman ahead of her time, Olive Pink is best known for her staunch support of the Aboriginal People of Central Australia, which is illustrated in this edited extract of the book Olive Pink: Artist, Activist and Gardener

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Garden colour hit

SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – is exactly that. When winter skies hang low, we start to feel a little dreary. But gardeners instinctively know what to do. We head into the garden to potter around and turn our faces to the winter sun. We also crave and look for colour in the garden.

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Jonquils and other narcissus

Jonquils are in full bloom in my garden and the scent from a bunch I’ve picked is wafting through the kitchen. Jonquils are thought of as spring bulbs but these fragrant, yellow-flowered bulbs bloom in winter in my garden. In warmer zones than my Tasmanian garden they can begin to flower in late autumn.

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