New series on plant combinations

WhichJan2011Small Just to let you know that I’ve started a new series for the British magazine Which? Gardening. It’s called Plant Partners, and on the back page of every issue of 2011 I’ll be recommending seasonal planting combinations to help you create attractive plantings right through the year. For the first issue, I’ve chosen white stemmed Rubus cockburnianus and the stinking hellebore, Helleborus foetidus.

Which? Gardening is one of a number of impressivelt impartial magazines, without advertising, produced by Which? (it was called the Consumers' Association when it began in 1957). Which? is a bit like the US magazine Consumer Reports and they also publish magazines on travel, money and computing as well as the more general Which? Magazine.

The January 2010 issue also includes tests on seed compost, shredders and whether it’s practical to grow peppers outside in Britain. My piece is not available online, so try a short trial subscription.

Recent plants and gardens articles online

Chelsea New Plants Report by Graham Rice Here’s a quick guide to my work which has appeared online since my last update six weeks ago. Quite a variety, I hope you find something interesting.

The Plantsman magazine

My report on the first year of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Plant of The Year award can be found in The Plantsman magazine.

The Guardian newspaper

My choice of ten fragrant plants for winter gardens appeared in the gardening pages of The Guardian newspaper

Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit plants

Continuing my choices from plants awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:

Ten autumn colour garden trees which have received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

10 AGM Evergreens by Graham Rice Ten variegated evergreen shrubs for winter which have received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Be sure to take a look at all my selections of AGM plants

Continuing my choices of plants recently award the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Kniphofia ‘Bees Sunset’

Chrysanthemum ‘Perry’s Peach’

Be sure to take a look at all the latest AGM winners I've written up.

Royal Horticultural Society New Plants blog

Over on my my Royal Horticultural Society New Plants blog I’ve posted about these plants:

Echinacea ‘Magic Box’: New from Thompson & Morgan

Coreopsis ‘Unbelievable’: New from Mr Fothergill’s Seeds

Anemone Pretty Lady Series: new dwarf Japanese anemones

Zinnia ‘Zahara Double Fire’: New from Plants of Distinction

Potato ‘Sunrise’: New from D. T. Brown

Petunia ‘Black Velvet’: New for 2011

Petunia ‘Phantom’: New from Thompson & Morgan

Two new variegated hebes

Transatlantic Plantsman blog

And here on my Transatlantic Plantsman blog, these are my recent posts:

Guest post: judywhite goes nuts for nuts

Mad planting ideas for our country town

£40 (that’s more than $60) - for a fescue!!

Victory over the plant police – for now at least

Blueberries in fall color

Witch hazels at RareFind Nursery


American Gardener magazine goes digital

AHS,American Gardener,digital,Osmocote. Image ©AHS (all rights reserved) My last post was prompted by an article from the latest issue of The American Gardener, the members' magazine of the American Horticultural Society.

What I saved for this separate post was the news that The American Gardener has gone digital. It's now available in a lovely digital turn-the-page-on-the-screen format - and it looks amazing (left, click to enlarge the first page). You can turn the pages, search it, zoom in to individual pages - scale it up to full screen size and it still looks great. There's even an interactive Osmocote ad. And, I might say, it's a step ahead of its venerable equivalent in Britain - no sign of the Royal Horticultural Society magazine The Garden going digital.

The first digital issue of The American Gardener is available free to anyone who cares to take a look - and you should. From the next issue it will only be available to AHS members - seems fair enough, they're the ones who pay their subscription after all. You can join the AHS here.

In print and online

Time to update you on where some of my recent work has been appearing.

The Guardian newspaper
The first of a number of pieces for Britain’s finest national newspaper. I had a weekly column in its sister paper, The Observer, for a few years. It’s good to be back.
New Plants

Royal Horticultural Society website
I’ve started two new monthly series for the RHS website, both featuring plants with the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
In one I highlight one of the latest plants to receive the AGM
The first features Dianthus Candy Floss ('Devon Flavia')
In the other I pick ten Award of Garden Merit plants of a particular type or for a particular use in the garden
The first is on plants for summer containers

Amateur Gardening magazine
I’m now writing occasionally for Amateur Gardening magazine.
My first piece is about the RHS Plant Finder. It’s not available online but you can subscribe to the magazine.

New Plants blog
My Royal Horticultural Society New Plants blog continues to thrive. In the last three weeks I’ve featured these new plants.
Coreopsis ‘Red Shift’
Golden rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Wilma’s Gold’
Digitalis purpurea ‘Serendipity
Iris ‘Impressions de Jouy’ and ‘Rose de la Vallée’
Hosta ‘Sarah’s Sensation’
Chelsea Plant of the Year - winners
Chelsea Plant of the Year - finalists

The Plantsman
June issue
I have a piece on hardiness rating systems, it’s not yet online but I hope it will be soon.

The Garden
June issue
California poppies (

If you follow me on Twitter I'll let you know when new pieces are published.

New hellebore breeding

The Garden, December 2009, hellebores. Images ©RHS.Last month I published two articles on recent and upcoming developments in hellebore breeding. Both are now available online at the Royal Horticultural Society website.

In the December issue of the Royal Horticultural Society's membership magazine The Garden I wrote about hybrids between the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, and other hellebore species. Read it here.

In the December issue of Royal Horticultural Society's subscription magazine The Plantsman I've focused on  hybrids between H. niger and the Lenten rose, H. x hybridus. Read it here.


What a writer reads

You can’t write if you don’t read. We’re both writers and famous for checking more books out of the local library at one time than anyone else. Put something in front of us – we’ll pick it up and read it. I’ll turn over a plate to read the backstamp and put on my specs to read the tiny copyright notes on a box of tissues.

By the side of the bed is a partially organised pile of reading matter, spilling out of its formerly organised piles… The bedside cabinet, of course, is full to bursting. Same as last time.

As I slipped on a copy of The Legislative Gazette (riveting stuff) that I picked up in the New York state capital, Albany, last week I thought perhaps it was time for a clear out and another look at what was actually there. Click here for a look at the bedside situation in April 2007. Here goes.

The Book Stops Here (A Mobile Library Mystery) – Ian Sansom
A very strange mystery. 1) The author’s name does not appear on the cover or the spine. 2. Nothing happens for the fist 100 pages. 3. There is no corpse. Very sparky and strange. Excellent.
Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
Pity the type the type in this old paperback is so tiny – that always puts me off reading it again.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain

Confession: I’ve never read this, that’s why it’s there waiting.
Birds of Pennsylvania – James S. Wakerley & Lilian D. Wakerley

From the local library sale, can’t pass books on our local birds.
Carp Fishing on Valium – Graham Parker
Great autobiographical short stories from the great rock ‘n’ roller. Turns out that when he was a kid he was fishing the same streams, at the same time, as I was. Bought on for one cent.
The Sound of the City - Charlie Gillett
Classic history of rock ‘n’ roll. Superb.
Cinderella Sims – Laurence Block
One of the best mystery writers, this is a very old one disinterred.
Across the River – C. Solimini
Another mystery and not quite throw-it-at-the-wall-in-a-fury bad but unreadable. It might have helped if the text was not printed crooked on every page. Have they no respect?
Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom – Christopher Hjort
Boggling, day-by-day history of the British blues boom from 1965-1970. To be discussed on my radio show tomorrow.
Planthropology – Ken Druse
An uncorrected proof for review. Yes, they still create uncorrected proofs to send out. But the many pictures are only in black-and-white.
White Bicycles – Joe Boyd
Musical autobiography from the record producer who worked with Pink Floyd, Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake – and was Stage Manager of the Newport Folk Festival the year Dylan went electric. Fascinating, but low on insight and, oddly for those 60s days, almost completely devoid of sex.
Grow Your Own Veg Journal – Carol Klein
(No, not Grow Your Own Veg Journal – if you see what I mean) For review. One of those books with blank pages on which you’re suppose to add your own notes – which no one ever does because they can’t bear to deface a book.
Piece of My Heart - Peter Robinson
Excellent mystery sent to me by a listener to my radio show as it deals with a murder at a Sixties rock festival.

Milford Magazine - Our excellent local monthly.
The Week (latest US edition) – Valuable digest of papers from around the world for those of us too busy to rad the Sydney Herald and the Irish Times.
New Yorker (three back issues) – Oh dear, getting behind…
Nutrition Now – the truth about what we eat. Excellent.
Hanburyana – Erudite botanical journal from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Journal of the Hardy Orchid Society – Enthusiasts only.
MacUser (UK edition) – The best UK Mac magazine.
Garden Media Guild News - trade journal for garden writers, photographers etc

Black Bear Film Festival programme book – from last week’s local festival.
How to Write: Journalism – free with The Guardian newspaper in England and given by my mother. How long have I been doing this?!
Local newspapers – back issues of them all, too many to list! Front page main headline in a paper from a  nearby town: Hawley Approves Nail Salon. Oh, bursting with news, we are…
WJFF Volunteer Handbook – new edition from my radio station
Seed catalogs – they seem to arrive every day… moved into a file of their own.

And, like last time, no picture of the disorganised pile…

Echinacea article in The Plantsman

Plantsmanechinaceacover My article A new dawn for Echinacea features in the new issue of The Plantsman magazine from the Royal Horticultural Society. It's a survey of recent breeding in Echinacea hybrids with lots of pictures.

You can read the article online here.

There's more on echinaceas, including a link to a slide show of Thompson & Morgan's breeding-in-progress here.

Royal Horticultural Society members can subscribe to The Plantsman here (please do, it's an excellent magazine). Everyone else can subscribe here.

These are the rates for a one-year subscription:
RHS members
UK members and affiliates £25
Overseas members and affiliates £38

Non-RHS members
UK £32
Overseas standard mail £45

British Garden Writers' Guild Awards

Gardenpeople I intended to tell you about the other British Garden Writers Guild award winners sooner but my more or less failed internet connection here in England has prevented me from doing so till now. The situation was exacerbated by my fury at the ISP which charges 10p (=20c) per minute for the phone call to discuss the correction of a problem which is entirely of their own creation – and which they repeatedly fail to correct!

Anyway… Be that as it may… When I finally got to a proper connection, first I posted an update on my own award (well, you would, wouldn’t you…?). Now, the other awards…

There follows the full list of winners. I hope to review the two other winning books before the holidays… I’m sure you’ve heard enough about my own book. If not, check out the judges’ enthusiastic remarks.

You can also see who actually judged the awards here

And you can see the Garden Writers' Guild’s own report here

Ken Muir

TV Broadcast of the Year
Grow Your Own Veg produced by Juliet Glaves for BBC Birmingham (for BBC2)

Radio Broadcast of the Year
Gardens of Faith by Natural History Unit Radio at BBC Bristol (for Radio 4), produced by Mary Colwel

Electronic Media Award edited by Camilla Phelps

New Writer Award
Louise Zass-Bangham for her article Is all wood good? in Garden Design Journal

Environmental Award
John Walker for his article Time to power down? in Organic Gardening

Photographer of the Year
Andrew Lawson

Features Photographer of the Year
Michelle Garrett for images in the article Mosses & liverworts by Jacky Hobbs in Homes & Gardens

Single Image of the Year
Jonathan Buckley for his image entitled Orchid

Reference Book of the Year
RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials by Graham Rice, Editor-in-Chief published by Dorling Kindersley

Enthusiasts' Book of the Year
Garden People: Valerie Finnis & The Golden Age of Gardening by Ursula Buchan, published by Thames & Hudson (Jacket Illustrated above)

Practical Book of the Year
RHS New Gardening by Matthew Wilson, published by Mitchell Beazley

Newspaper of the Year
The Daily Telegraph, Kylie O’Brien, Editor Telegraph Gardening

Magazine of the Year
Gardens Illustrated, edited by Juliet Roberts

Journalist of the Year
Jane Moore for articles in Gardeners’ World Magazine

Practical Journalist of the Year
Andi Clevely for his article To dig or not to dig? in The Garden

Trade Journalist of the Year
Graham Clarke for his article Developments in tougher turf in Horticulture Week

Chrysanthemum article in The Garden

Chrysanthsplatetg In this month's issue of The Garden, the members' magazine from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), I have an article about hardy chrysanthemums for beds and borders.

Unfortunately, the article itself is not available online for everyone to read. Well, I say unfortunately... But RHS members pay for their membership every year and there's no good reason why non-members should benefit from the services, like the superb monthly magazine, that are provided for them. Ever thought about joining?

What you can see online is the excellent color plate by expert photographer Tim Sandall which I show here - go to the articles's webpage on the RHS website to find out the names of each flower.

And if you'd like to read the article about these wonderful and tough heirloom perennials, and rich treasure trove of other expert articles - join the Royal Horticultural Society!