To plant, perchance to dream

  I have been in quarantine for a couple of weeks now with an impressively wheezy chest and have had to experience Christmas and New Year vicariously through E and C’s slightly competitive WhatsApp messages ‘We had 53 people to lunch on Christmas Day and danced till 2 am’ (E) ‘ it’s so hot here on Cyprus we spent Christmas Day on sun loungers round the pool’ (C) Grrrrrrr – they didn’t seem the least bit interested when I told them how handy my new Christmas hot water bottle cover had come in. During a bout of paracetamol fuelled...

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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...

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Looking back and so looking forward!

So here we are, we’ve reached Christmas again, and despite our very best efforts, our gardens are STILL not perfect…(for perfect look at Louise’s wonderful photo of her Great Plant this Month) so I think we should all turn joyfully to studying our gardens with a clear eye as to what ‘worked’ last year, and what didn’t. First and foremost, I MUST be more ruthless about plants that are not thriving – it’s appallingly easy for a soft-hearted gardener to end up with a patch full of Anates cataces, aka Lame Ducks, defiantly not actually dying, but limping on with...

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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...

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