Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ AGM
In this most magical of months when there is so much happening in the garden, I want to put in a word for a member of the currant family.
Again, all too often the only one available, and therefore most often seen, is the very drab pink R sanguineum. You could look out for Ribes ‘Pulborough Scarlet’ which, as its name suggests, does have very striking deep pink blooms, but my favourite is the one with snow white flowers.
Interestingly, almost everywhere you read about ‘White Icicle’, it says ‘full sun’. Well this is nonsense and quite frankly I probably wouldn’t have time for it if that were the case, for when not in bud (which emerge in a most enticing way towards the end of February) or in flower, its overall appearance is dull and you wouldn’t want to waste your best sunny spot. I have one in deepest shade on the north wall of our house and it only sees the sun for half an hour in the very late afternoon. It is all the more striking for being in the shade where the white pendent flowers positively glow. I also have another in dappled shade near an oak tree, and its upright habit is the perfect umbrella for any number of woodland treasures.
It is such an easy shrub, all it needs is a hard prune after flowering, and this also keeps it to a more manageable size.