Plant of the Week: Japanese azalea
If you adore the exuberant, day-glo colours and handsome, glossy leaves of the rhododendron family, yet you haven't room for large shrubs in your garden – try Japanese azaleas.
They're every bit as colourful as their bigger cousins, but only grow to about a metre tall – perfect for smaller gardens and containers of ericaceous (lime-free) compost. The smaller, daintier flowers are quite charming: enjoy the ruffled white flowers of 'Niagara', blotched in green, or 'Irohayama', in pale lavender. The curious 'hose-in-hose' double flowers of 'Coral Bells' are pink, and scented too. Give them dappled shade and damp soil and they'll give you pleasure for years to come.
To get the most from your sweet pea plants pinch out the growing tips when they reach about 6-7in (15-18cm) tall. Simply pinch out the top 3in (7.5cm) of the main shoot down to another leaf bud.
Filling your house with the colour and fragrance of fresh flowers cut from the garden is one of the great pleasures of gardening. The trouble is, though, if you take all the flowers from the garden, there's nothing left to look at outside.
The answer is to create yourself a cutting gard…Read more »