About Noel Kingsbury

Noel Kingsbury is a gardener and writer based in the west of England. Author of over 20 books, including four collaborations with Dutch designer Piet Oudolf, he is passionate about wild-style planting and bringing nature into the garden.

Author Archive | Noel Kingsbury

Autumn – our most colourful time?

I remember on my first ever trip to the US (in August/September 1992) loving the blue/violet and yellow colour scheme of roadside wildflowers, whilst driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, and then seeing similar mixes all the way up to Massachusetts. There must be a good reason why so many autumn perennials flower in either one or the other – to do with some combination of light wavelength and bee eyesight. Anyways – the combination is a very effective complementary one. Here is Rudbeckia triloba with Aster puniceus and Verbena bonariensis. The rudbeckia is a short-lived perennial; mine has sharper ray florets than the form usually available here. I got the seed from Prairie Moon in Wisconsin. The Aster I have had for years, the seed I collected originally from a swamp in the Catskills. It is a terrific seeder, but not a root spreader – a very good late summer soft blue. Continue Reading →

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A new look at the potager – Cambo innovates again

The potager – that ornamental version of the vegetable garden was always a bit precious. Too many people had visited Chateau Villandry on the Loire and thought they could do a mini-version. The results were all too often a neurotic assemblage of over-controlled vegetables that no-one dare harvest as it would spoil the picture. Continue Reading →

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Garden in the Woods

Last week I spent a day doing some filming with Duncan Heather and Elspeth Briscoe for a MyGardenSchool  online course on perennials I will be tutoring next year. Duncan is principal of the Oxford College of Garden Design and a noted garden designer. So, interesting to have a look around at a leading garden designer’s own patch of mature garden. Continue Reading →

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First open the garden, then pour the tea



Opened our garden on Sunday, for the National Garden Scheme, which for those of you who don’t know it, raises money for charities through encouraging private gardens to open to the public. They have been running since 1927, and now have thousands of gardens in the famous Yellow Book guide. Its not the first time I’ve participated in the scheme but the first for our current garden. Not surprisingly garden visiting is listed as one of the most popular hobbies in Britain. Continue Reading →

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Petunias and democracy – Travels in Kyrgyrzstan

Bishkek is my first experience of the former Soviet Union (USSR), words drained of real meaning to a younger generation, but for any of us who grew up and were politically aware before 1989 a major part of our consciousness of the world – but now all that seemingly indestructible grey concrete has turned to dust. I’m here for a botanical tour of north-east Kyrgyzstan, the most mountainous and remote of the former USSR’s ‘Soviet Socialist Republics’, up against China’s own remote province of Xinjiang. Amazing to be in a country which was once almost totally closed to outsiders, and about which we knew almost nothing. Now it is developing for tourists, but it feels like virgin territory for visitors. It is a botanical paradise. Continue Reading →

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