Helleborus argutifolius AGM – Syn.Helleborus corsicus  Helleborus lividus subsp. corsicus

Also known as Corsican hellebore or holly-leaved hellebore. That description, ‘holly leaved’, could put you off. Don’t let it, it isn’t prickly, rather that the handsome leathery leaves have a quietly serrated edge. They also have an almost metallic sheen which perfectly sets off the clusters of palest apple-green, cup-shaped flowers which are very long lasting. They will still be there as spring drifts into summer. If you want it to self-seed then leave the ageing flowerheads; if not, there comes a time when you will want to tidy it up (usually around mid May) when you can cut off...

Continue reading

Dendrobium Berry Oda

Straight off, I’ll admit that I am not a fan of tender orchids, especially not the sort that are so popular in garden centres: so perfect they could be made of plastic, and the flowers so long lasting that they need dusting. However, several years ago when I was visiting one of my sisters, her dendrobium just happened to be in flower, and I was very taken with it. So, she eased out a rooted stem, I took it home, potted it up in orchid compost and it never looked back. Having spent all last weekend outside in the...

Continue reading

Crocus tommasinianus

The big reward for me gardening in January, is not only getting ahead of things while it’s relatively quiet, but also coming across all the tiny signs that spring is just around the corner. My special plant today may seem an obvious choice, but it never fails to stop me in my tracks with its delicate lilac flowers and their brilliant orange anthers. It never fails to stop the bumble bees either, being a rich source of early pollen. Frail as the flowers may look, it is a resilient little plant and copes well in quite tough surroundings. We...

Continue reading

Parrotia persica AGM – Persian Ironwood

I first saw Parrotia persica (a group of three) in the winter garden at Polesden Lacey and wanted one immediately: the sight of those deep crimson flowers erupting from bare branches was captivating. As with many flowers at this time of year you must get up close to appreciate their beauty, but then that is the enjoyment of being in the winter garden; it is a stroll of discovery of tiny details on a cold day, as opposed to a blast of unmissable colour in the heat of summer. The Persian ironwood is a hardy, deciduous, upwardly spreading tree...

Continue reading