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Graham Rice
Pennyslvania USA, and Nothamptonshire, UK
I'm a garden writer, plantsman and photographer.
Interests: Apart from plants and gardens? Wildlife, reading just about anything, music of all kinds from Stravinsky to punk, my music radio show (The BritMix), fishing, movies, ceramics and glass of the 1950s and 1960s, art...
Recent Activity
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Chrysanthemums as footstools or chrysanthemums in perennial borders? Continue reading
Posted 14 hours ago at Transatlantic Gardener
They do, eventually. The leaves usually seem to develop pinkish tones then fall, leaving the fruits on the bare branches. I've sometimes seen a chipmunk up there, filling up, and they're very pretty when iced over but if a flock of grackles (like big starlings) come through they quickly vanish or the finches eat them but there are often still fruits present in the new year.
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Burning Bush, Euonymus alatus, is rarely used for cutting but its fiery autumn foliage look as good in a vase as it does in the garden. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Transatlantic Gardener
Yes, I was just reading that too (my copy of The Garden has just arrived here in the US). Frankly, I'm not sure that we should worry too much about Impatiens balsamina which is hardly a top rank annual - almost no one grows it, these days, I can understand why, and few seed companies list it now. I'd be more worried about all the species which are now being used to develop new patio plants and replacements for the cvs of I. walleriana which are being laid low by downy mildew. There must be approaching a thousand Impatiens species and many of the showier ones are being investigated.
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Fair and balanced, that's us, fair and balanced. And being fair means saying "never plant Japanese knotweed" and being balanced means saying "not even the variegated form". OK?! But the fact is, TP, that the science shows that Himalayan balsam is not as bad as it's thought to be be. Just ask if you'd like the references to the scientific papers that set this out.
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I'm not surprised: even if you're not familiar with the birds the text is so interesting and the images so appealing - what's not to enjoy?
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Thanks, Jean, it would be interesting to see how far east it's spread.
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Himalayan balsam is banned from sale in Britain but it's not as evil as many people think and bees appreciate its late flowering. Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
Following my heart attack back in the spring, and my two doses of lyme disease, The BritMix has been off the air. I'm doing very well, now, and I hope to return later in the fall. I'll update you here... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2014 at The BritMix
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Eastern North American native jewelweed, or spotted touch me-not (Impatiens capensis) now grows on river banks in England. Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
I'm glad you've been enjoying the archives, Ann. And you're right, Annie's Annuals should indeed be on the nursery list, I've often recommended them. A silly oversight - which I'll fix.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2014 on Hedgerow harvest at Transatlantic Gardener
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Hawthorn berries can contain almost as much Vitamin C as oranges and some rose hips contain fifty times as much. Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
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My five year old grandson Monty found a flourishing colony of insectivorous sundews on the dry banks of our lake. Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
Thank you for sharing your experiences, Steve. I'm sorry to hear that everlasting pea is such a problem for you. In our British garden in zone 8 (seen in the picture with the rose), it has not self-seeded at all in nearly fifteen years in spite of growing well - perhaps at least partly because flowers are generally cut for the house and those remaining dead-headed regularly. Here in north east PA (zone 5) it has grown along roadsides for years and certainly seems very resilient (and attractive) but we don't currently have it in the garden because out here in the woods sunny places are at such a premium and we don't have space for even one plant with that much vigor. Have you tried Round-Up sprayed on the emerging foliage early in the season? It will also be easier to keep the weedkiller off other plants at that time of year.
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Sometimes, people ignore plants simply because they're common. We see them all the time, even growing by the side of the road, and they sink into our subconscious and simply fail to emerge. What is sometimes called the perennial sweet... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
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Review of Tweet Of The Day, the exceptional and beautifully illustrated new book that accompanies the BBC radio series. Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
Thanks for your support, Beth. Much appreciated. One of the things that Ken Thompson points out in his book is that what seems to happen over the decades is that purple loosetrife arrives, sometimes it spreads a lot and may look dominant - but then it may well decline significantly to the extent that no one would think it a pest at all. OK, this may take a few decades but a few decades is nothing in biological time. That's what happened with Canadian pondweed in Britain: it arrived, it spread quickly, everyone decried it as a menace - now it's uncommon.
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But that's the point, T. P., research shows that although it looks as if purple loosestrife smothers everything - it doesn't.
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Purple loosestrife is not as evil as many people say, native swamp loosestrife can be more invasive. Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs comes in a much larger format, runs to over 950 pages, covers "more than 3,700" plants with 3,500 pictures and its cover price is two and a half times that of the Hillier Manual. So it covers about a quarter of the number of plants described in the Hillier Manual, has masses of colour pictures, costs substantially more but of course is focused more on plants grown in North America. And it's very very heavy.
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A review by Graham Rice of the invaluable new edition of the Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs. Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
Yes, you may be right. I'm passing that way later today so I'll take a look and see if it's turned green - or died!
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Making the hour’s drive back and forth to my cardiac rehab three times a week, and often walking woodland trails on the other days, I’ve spotted some interesting plants along the way. A couple of years ago I wrote about... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
Had another look yesterday, and there were insects on the wild bergamot, Monarda fistulosa, that's flowering in the same field now that the rudbeckia is fading and there were also a few on fleabane, Erigeron annuus. But none on the rudbeckias - very odd.
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Not so fast... It turns out that purple loosestrife is not such a menace after all. More in a post here soon.
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