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Great Plants this Month Winter

Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’

It’s not all about snowdrops and winter aconites in February. I just couldn’t let the month go by without giving these little beauties a mention.  Classic yes, and I do wish I’d planted more of them last autumn; it takes four months from planting to flower, you can’t ask for more than that. And what good…

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Great Plants this Month Winter

Euphorbia stygiana – Azores spurge

This is an interesting euphorbia at any time of the year, but it really comes into its own in the winter, most especially during a cold snap when some of the lower stem leaves turn a brilliant pillar-box red. It’s not a massive blast of colour; it is one of those small delights that catch…

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Great Plants this Month Winter

Geranium palmatum AGM – Canary Island Geranium

This handsome evergreen perennial gives me pleasure pretty much all year round; I can be walking down the path on a grey winter’s day, and my eye will be caught by its fresh green foliage. It’s quite unlike any other: apart from its sister plant Geranium maderense which is even more arresting in appearance, but only…

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Great Plants this Month Winter

Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ – Winter flowering cherry

Unlike many of its springtime show-off cousins, this is an understated and elegant small tree, and one of the best for winter interest in the smaller garden. Deciduous and spreading, its leaves show good autumn colour, and they are followed by delicate, semi-double, white flowers tinged with pink, which can appear intermittently throughout late autumn and…

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Great Plants this Month Uncategorized Winter

Malus domestica ‘Sturmer Pippin’

If you spot an apple tree still bearing fruit at this time of the year, chances are it will be a Sturmer Pippin. This is a very late cropping variety that was highly regarded in the Victorian period because it keeps so well on (and off) the tree; it will remain hanging on into January…

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Great Plants this Month Winter

Salix alba var. vitellina ‘Britzensis’

Willows are a diverse lot, but if it’s shout-out-loud winter colour you’re after, then look no further than my subject today – it simply cannot be ignored in the December garden.  Known also as the scarlet willow or the coral bark willow, the young stems are nearer orange than red, and they create a fiery…

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Great Plants this Month Winter

Rosa × odorata ‘Bengal Crimson’ AGM

Last night the temperature fell to -3.2 degrees, yet still this china rose is in flower. Okay so it’s not a blaze of colour as in the summer months, but I’m so impressed by its persistence. On any given day during this very damp grey autumn I have counted at least a dozen flowers, and…

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Great Plants this Month Winter

Ficaria verna ‘Brazen Hussy’

Syn:Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’ Lesser celandine ‘Brazen Hussy’ William Wordsworth wrote no less than three poems in celebration of our native, lesser celandine, so can you imagine the raptures if he had come across ‘Brazen Hussy’? Closely related to the buttercup, this tuberous rooted perennial takes me by surprise every year: one minute the earth…

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Great Plants this Month Winter

Helleborus argutifolius AGM – Syn.Helleborus corsicus  Helleborus lividus subsp. corsicus

Also known as Corsican hellebore or holly-leaved hellebore. That description, ‘holly leaved’, could put you off. Don’t let it, it isn’t prickly, rather that the handsome leathery leaves have a quietly serrated edge. They also have an almost metallic sheen which perfectly sets off the clusters of palest apple-green, cup-shaped flowers which are very long lasting.…

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Great Plants this Month Winter

Dendrobium Berry Oda

Straight off, I’ll admit that I am not a fan of tender orchids, especially not the sort that are so popular in garden centres: so perfect they could be made of plastic, and the flowers so long lasting that they need dusting. However, several years ago when I was visiting one of my sisters, her…