It has to be hellebores!

I am not a fan of the sort of mild winter that slips almost imperceptibly into spring, so I am happy with this one! February means hellebores at their best, but I’m not going to get bogged down with too many different sorts here, for there are many, including some very interesting species. I’m going to stick with the lenten rose (Helleborus x hybridus) which has such a wide range of colour, (from nearly black through endless shades of wine red, pink, creamy yellow to white) and are among the most handsome and versatile of winter flowering plants. Their markings

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Teucrium fruticans

I don’t really linger in the garden in February, but I do go round it every day whatever the weather, and love to notice all the subtle changes. The best time for this is in the early morning after a sharp frost: I never fail to be amazed by the transformations made by frost, and am reminded not to be overhasty in cutting down the stems of many perennials, grasses in particular. There is one plant which looks particularly good right now (quite unscathed by -6C a few days ago) and that is the shrubby germander, teucrium fruticans. Its curious,

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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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