Salix fargesii

FEBRUARY: Salix fargesii. During periods of hard frost it is not difficult to find stunning subjects to admire as you wander around the garden; every stem, seedhead and leaf is enhanced by the sparkling white dust of  air hoar. The challenging days are when it’s grey and dismal and the light levels are at their lowest. But even then I know that there will always be something to brighten things up, and at this time of the year I look to Salix fargesii, which we have planted at the edge of our pond. There are about 400 species of...

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Anisodontea ‘El Royo’

JANUARY: Anisodontea ‘El Royo’. The first anisodontea that I grew was A. capensis, which is less hardy, less showy, smaller in all respects, but very charming nonetheless. Then I came across A.‘El Royo’, another member of the mallow family, which has much larger, clearer pink flowers, also with dark centres, and it flowers best, most unexpectedly, in autumn and winter. It is a hardy evergreen subshrub reaching about 1.5 m, and mine has so far withstood a string of quite hard frosts, and it just keeps on going. It has an airy habit and will perform best in a...

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Clematis cirrhosa

JANUARY Clematis cirrhosa From about the middle of December, the garden takes second place in the order of things; but as soon as the festivities are over I rush outside, keen to see what’s in flower, and to catch up with all our treasures. Planted not far from our back door and therefore always on view to be enjoyed, is the evergreen winter flowering Clematis cirrhosa. It is amazing to see the delicate speckled flowers thriving under such tough conditions and all the more valuable at this time of year. I did have to refer to my gardening diary...

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Erysimum ‘Parrish’s’

DECEMBER: Erysimum ‘Parrish’s’ December can be short on flowers. Early bulbs, sweet scented winter flowering shrubs, and most hellebores come into their own from January onwards; but for this time of the year, my subject today is in a class of its own. I can honestly say that there is hardly a month when it is not in flower, and don’t imagine it is nestled against a south facing sheltered wall, nor is it in a pot tucked well up against the house. Our garden is cold and it flourishes in an open bed, admittedly very well drained. Erysimum...

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