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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Chimonanthus praecox

The name translates from the Greek as precocious (or early) winter flower, and it is without doubt the most striking plant in our garden this month. Striking, not only because it is so heavily laden with flower this year (and I am wondering how this happened after such a mediocre summer), but also because its fragrance is pure heaven. Planted in 1990, it was one of the best choices we made, even though initially I began to doubt this, as several winters passed before the unusual waxy flowers started to appear, along with their intoxicating scent. For the rest of

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