Full seed ahead: what to sow now for summer

Marigold Alumia Vanilla Cream
©Thompson & Morgan

For a colourful showing, it is best to start sowing early. Here are some of my tips for the year

White flowers of Heptacodium miconioides
©Christina Bollen/Alamy

Wake-up call for old beds

Like their gardeners, ageing plants die. Their deaths are not reasons to give up. They are opportunities, not catastrophes

A Painted Lady butterfly on alpine chrysanthemums in Wroclaw botanic garden
©Viktoryia Malashanka

Butterflies and other beauties

A look back at the garden successes of the past 12 months and why two painted ladies were among my favourites

Growing faith: gardening and the early Christians

I would not have wanted St Paul on my garden staff, but the first monks and ‘Desert Fathers’ were dedicated cultivators

Garden of the Six Sublimities in Kanazawa, Japan, which is featured in 'The Gardener’s Garden'
©Claire Takacs

My top garden books of 2014

A look at this year’s standout horticultural publications, from English style to the new ‘Shabby-Look’

Camellia Gloire de Nantes
©Trehane Nursery

Camellias show the benefits of a mild autumn

The late-flowering blooms make up for the delay and disarray to the colours on our trees — and are worth a future bet

Runners in Campbell Park, Milton Keynes
©The Parks Trust

Milton Keynes: unnaturally natural garden city

The English town created in the 1960s offers a good model for planned landscaping on a large scale

Rhododendrons in John Ruskin’s garden at Brantwood, Cumbria, with Coniston Water beyond
©Richard Hanson

Why weeds and words don’t mix

Combining gardening with writing may seem like a good idea but it is an uncomfortable marriage

The lake and main island in the Japanese Garden in Szczytnicki Park, Wroclaw
©Viktoryia Malashanka

The Japanese garden in a Polish park

A fine garden in Poland’s fourth-biggest city, Wroclaw, is full of historical mystery

‘Purple Talbot Parade’
©Jo Whitworth

Chrysanthemums: the late bloomers

As an ‘absurdly’ mild autumn delays the flowering calendar, attention turns to the hardy plants

Best of 2014 - Plant-hunting on Mount Olympus

A trek up Greece’s highest mountain uncovers some flowers familiar to British gardeners

Rooftop gardens held in high regard

Living roofs can last up to three times as long as a conventional roof – and reduce winter heating costs

Time to branch out: trees to plant with confidence

Aspiring nursery owners and ordinary gardeners should focus on varieties that are not at risk from killer diseases or insects

All the fun of the rare

Great Dixter is one of many gardens, large and small, that regularly host events for buyers and sellers of unusual plants

Lady Walton’s flourishing legacy in Italy

The semi-tropical garden on a volcanic island in the Bay of Naples continues to thrive, 50 years after its formation

Arches, arbours and other garden storeys

Green and flowery upper storeys are especially charming because they have such a long history

The horticultural dynasties of Victorian Britain

In the 19th century many garden nurseries were founded as family businesses but only a few have survived to the present day

Gardens: the culinary art of pest control

Forget traps and poisons – here are some meal ideas using uninvited garden visitors, from rabbits and pigeons to squirrels and snails

The restoration of Painshill’s English landscape garden

How Charles Hamilton’s 18th-century masterpiece in Surrey regained its former glory

New York Botanical Garden goes native

This new, wild-style garden in the Bronx has benefited from well-planned, naturalistic planting and careful ‘editing’