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 ‘Parrish’s’ is a hardy, low growing, evergreen wallflower with bright magenta/purple pink flowers. I was going to use the word ‘sprawling’ to characterise its habit, but remember seeing it once described as ‘curtseying’ and I can’t better that!
‘Parrish’s’ associates well with smaller grasses, and low growing, grey leaved sub-shrubs; next autumn I shall plant some spring bulbs around its base as these would thrive happily amidst its open growth.
Being relatively short lived, it responds well to light pruning when it gets too leggy.
We’re not far off the shortest day, and for me there is no plant quite so plucky as Helleborus niger, pictured at the top of this column, and there is no better place for it than in a pot beside the front door. You will be enthralled long after the Christmas decorations have come down!