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Great Plants this Month Winter

Ribes laurifolium – laurel-leaved currant

Louse Sims

Before this recent bout of snow and frost, the garden seemed almost to be in early spring mode and bursting into life with crocus, aconites, iris and of course, snowdrops. Now we have returned to winter and it’s just what the garden needed.

However, my choice this week had already made its mark, quietly but emphatically flowering away in a sheltered, semi-shady corner of the garden which seems to suit it well; this slow-to-establish, spreading evergreen shrub (1-1.5m) is perfectly hardy but does need protection from the wind. I’ve read that it can be very effectively trained against a wall which will provide not just protection but also support. The pale greenish-ivory flowers are sweetly scented and hang like tassels amongst the dark green foliage – it seems unkind (also inaccurate) to call it the laurel-leaved currant, which makes it sound so unappealing! 

The flowers are a good source of early food for bees, but if you want the berries, then being dioecious you will need to have both a male and a female plant, or one of the two named forms – ‘Rosemoor’ (hermaphrodite and said to have a better overall shape); there is also ‘Amy Doncaster’ which may be more floriferous, so if you are tempted, it could be worth taking a look at either of these.

Did you know that Ribes nigrum (the blackcurrant) gave its name to Ribena which was launched in 1938?

NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 inc P & P and is for sale in our online shop here.

More NB If you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

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