Ficaria verna ‘Brazen Hussy’

Syn:Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’ Lesser celandine ‘Brazen Hussy’ William Wordsworth wrote no less than three poems in celebration of our native, lesser celandine, so can you imagine the raptures if he had come across ‘Brazen Hussy’? Closely related to the buttercup, this tuberous rooted perennial takes me by surprise every year: one minute the earth is bare, the next it pops up as if by magic. Its polished, heart-shaped, bronze-black leaves form a ground-hugging mound from which the golden yellow flowers cheerfully shine out as if to declare that spring really is on the way (although this week it...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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