Cornus kousa var chinensisOne of the nicest things you can give to mark a special occasion is a plant which will ‘do it’s thing’ at the time of the event each year. 

There is a chance that you already have a plant in your garden that has a special significance; perhaps a cutting taken from Granny’s garden, a plant bought on a holiday or a gift from a friend.  It is a plant with a particular memory for you.

In our garden we have several such special favourites.

My husband was bought a Cornus kousa var chinensis for his 50th birthday by his mother that we kept in a pot on the patio for a while.  The pot cracked a couple of winters ago so the lucky Cornus was put in the ground and has enjoyed its new home.
It is a large and elegant shrub or small tree from Japan and Korea, worthy of a place on its own where it can be admired and allowed to grow slowly to its full size. The branches are open and spreading and are covered in early summer with slender-stalked flower heads of showy white bracts, which later produce strawberry-like fruits in a good year. The foliage catches fire in autumn, turning rich bronze, orange and crimson. A beautiful shrub that grows slowly at first, but eventually needs plenty of room. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).



We have a vine, another family birthday gift, which turns the most fantastic colour at this time of year.  The grapes are not quite ripe yet but last year they were an excellent handful in October.  As I type the name I see it is Vitis Brant – just one letter short of Bryant – I have never noticed that before!


Vitis Brant
Vitis Brant


















Read more: Plants for Special Occasions

February’s article was missed because we went to soak up some winter sun in Sri Lanka – sadly,  the weather didn’t cooperate and we were caught up in the floods.  Torrential rain, landslides and roads washed away…but still its a beautiful country, with lovely people, amazing flora and fauna, and excellent rice and curry!

Anyway, we have dried out now and are delighted to be home enjoying our beautiful Spring weather.  We’ve made  a few changes here over the winter – moving the mature beech hedge to give more space for the vegetable garden and installing a big new greenhouse (more details another day!)




The hedge was picked up with a digger and moved a couple of meters to a new trench well dug out and enriched with compost.  There was plenty of rain in January and February but the last couple of weeks have been quite dry so I will water the hedge this weekend than apply a thick mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture during the summer.  It will need a leaky hose to run along its length for ease of regular watering too…just in case we have a good summer!



Read more: Mulch Your Borders With Compost

Andrew Wilson’s design for the new Rose Garden at Savill Garden – it is fabulous!

Cantilevered platform over highly perfumed roses

Andrew’s spiral design cleverly winds multiple pathways inwards towards the central feature – a wooden walkway arching over the roses narrowing

to a steel Titanic-like prow.  The roses are  selected to become darker and more strongly scented as the centre is approached and the raised platform,

with grating underfoot, affords a perfumed panorama.

Andrew Wilson’s spiral design

The design has the look of a half open rose itself to me – overlapping petals with dark centre encouraging a nose towards the scent within – some

have compared it to a spinning planet with vapour trails, see what you come up with – but do go and see for yourself!

Rose gardens are often fairly dull and the Rose itself is not a beautiful plant - the blooms are beautiful for a few weeks but uninspiring for the rest of the year.

Read more: Savill’s Sensory Spectacular! - Andrew Wilson's Rose Garden

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Nonsuch Gardens team members  are highly experienced in garden maintenance-  to advise and help you with the many aspects of garden care, covering Ascot, Bracknell, Sunningdale, Winkfield areas. With over 10 years experience and gardening qualifications, we look forward to caring for your garden. Visit or call 07809 892509

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Visit or call 07809 892509

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jplot garden design in surrey and berkshire

Bulbs in Containers and Naturalised Grass. Click on BULBS to see this month's gardening feature by Judy Bryant of JPlot, garden designers  in  Ascot