Chaenomeles x superba ‘Pink Lady’ AGM

Everyone is familiar with the ornamental quince. They are easy to grow, very hardy, can be left to grow freely or be trained tightly against a wall. They also come in many colours, some more familiar than others, and are tolerant of almost any soil type. What is not often pointed out is the ability of some of them to thrive in almost total shade and this particular one, ‘Pink Lady’ does just that, and it must be the earliest of them all. Ours started to flower in the middle of January and is very prolific. The tiny, dark pink

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Arum italicum subsp. italicum ‘Marmoratum’ AGM syn. Arum italicum ‘Pictum’

Straight off I need to state that my subject this week is not for gardeners who like to be in control, for it is a great self seeder, and is further helped on its way by blackbirds. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it invasive but thought I had better sound the alert! Interestingly, until I started to write this piece, I had no idea that it had earned the prestigious Award of Garden Merit by the RHS. This tuberous perennial is summer dormant; its bold, spear-shaped leaves emerge in the autumn and are glossy deep green, patterned

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Daphne laureola 

Many winter-flowering shrubs are unassuming, their blooms are usually quite subtle and many are fragrant; most often you catch the scent on the air before you notice the flowers. Daphne laureola, commonly known as the spurge laurel, is one of two native daphnes found in the UK and it is easy to grow and utterly dependable, unlike some of the others we know! It has attractive, polished evergreen leaves which arrange themselves as rosettes, forming a neat dome about a metre high and rather wider after many years. The effect is certainly reminiscent of the euphorbia family but daphne laureola

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