January’s Offerings

January 19, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-41.JPGIf you take a close look at your garden you will notice that new growths are beginning to emerge. This is a true sign that spring is around the corner, but there is still some way to go.

Early flowering bulbs are starting to push through like Snowdrops, dwarf Irises, Crocuses and Narcissus to give the garden some much-needed forth-coming cheery colour after the dull winter.

A lovely flowering plant for this time of the year is the Hellebores, also known as the Christmas rose, but despite its name it seldom seems to flower in time for Christmas… something to consider for next Christmas.

The flowers of this plant are pendent saucer shaped and come in a variety of subtle colours from white, cream, pink, purple or green. Most Hellebores’ prefer shade, and have evergreen leaves. I think this is a super perennial for winter interest and have several in my own garden.

There are several winter flowering shrubs to choose from to liven up the garden at this time of the year, such as the Hamamelis, Witch Hazel, with its lovely spidery yellow scented flowers blooming on bare branches.

How about the Scarcococca, Christmas Box with its sweet scented small white flowers? Other fragrant flowering shrubs are Chimonanthus praecox, Wintersweet with waxy looking yellow flowers on bare stems or the Lonicera fragrantissima with small creamy white flowers.

Another good shrub for the winter garden is the Daphne odora, which is evergreen and has a sweet, delicate perfume of pink flowers. Another early flowering shrub is the Chaenomeles, Japanese quince; this comes in a variety of colours from white-pink, deep rose-pink, orange, scarlet and red, and can look really super grown against a wall.

If you’re looking for some vertical interest, then you could opt for the winter flowering Clematis, Clematis cirrhosa, which is evergreen and has small bell shaped cream flowers with red flecking on the inside.

Other winter interest in the garden can be provided by the beautiful six to eight inches long grey-green pendent catkins of the Garrya elliptica, Silk-tassel bush or by the catkins of the contorted hazel, Corylus avellana.

For architectural foliage in a winter garden, I think that evergreen ferns look especially stunning when they’re dusted in frost. I think that trees also take on a special magic during this time of the year when the attractive trunks of deciduous trees can now be seen clearly, like the polished mahogany looking bark of the Prunus serrula or the snake patterned bark of the Acer capillipes. The peeling bark of the Acer griseum is particularly tactile.

If you haven’t got enough going on in your garden this month, then do some armchair gardening and plan where you would like some special winter colour and interest in your garden for next year.



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