It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted, given the current circumstances it’s amazing how time still seems to fly. So far this year I’ve had a big birthday, been extra busy at work (still from the home office), bought a wide selection of seeds and had a laptop drama – it crashed as I was trying to update the operating system. The latter caused me some problems, but the persistence of supertech Mike at Apple was second to none and the laptop is now cured! I haven’t had much time for gardening, but Chris has been busy with hedges, clearing the borders of spent growth from last year and shrub pruning. January shrubs and perennials are brightening our days as the garden starts to wake up and we’ve had some snowfall to add a peaceful air of calm. My six pictures this week have been taken with my birthday gift from Chris – a new camera!
I’m starting with three hybrid hellebores – this one is a Farmyard Nurseries helleborus x hybridus double picotee and is available to buy in plug or large plant form or even from the nurseries own seed. It’s an absolute beauty and being evergreen and full of colour, it’s a must for the winter garden. Earlier this week the plant was almost completely covered in snow – but it’s sturdy and fully hardy and so no harm was done at all! Hellebores are easy to grow if positioned in the right conditions and are simple to propagate by division in Autumn. I tried to cross pollinate two of my hellebores to produce a new hybrid a couple of years ago, without success unfortunately, but I think this is the year to try again – watch this space…..
Another from Farmyard, this one is unusual as it’s been bred with an upward facing flower head. Most hellebore flowers nod to the earth, so it’s a real bonus to see such a gorgeous maroon centre looking up to the sky.
A birthday present from one of my lovely friends is the third – helleborus ‘Cinderella’ and it’s just waiting to be planted out. I’ll choose a semi-shaded spot and be sure to add plenty of organic matter as hellebores prefer a rich, moist well drained soil. Most hybrid hellebores grow to about 18 inches in height, perfect for the front of a border.
I’ve got two hamamelis ‘Jelena’ – these witch hazels are in pots as they have limited year round appeal and our plot isn’t big enough to have a dedicated winter garden. With their unusual brightly coloured spidery petals and bewitching scent, these deciduous shrubs really do shine during the darkest months, but in summer they don’t have the most interesting foliage. These pots can be moved around by season, taking a back seat in summer and as they really don’t like cold wind, a sheltered position by the house in winter suits them perfectly. Witch hazels are quite fussy preferring well-drained, neutral to acid soil in sun or light shade.
I would recommend the evergreen sweet box, sarcococca confusa for any winter garden, but do make sure you position it along a walkway for it has the most wonderful, strong aroma to enjoy when in flower. Preferring moist well drained, hummus rich soil, this plant thrives in shade. It’s fairly slow growing, reaching a height and spread of up to 2 x 1.5 metres in ten years.
A last hurrah for last years dry foliage on miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ – prior to being chopped down before for this years new growth reaches a couple of inches. It’s delightful when covered in ice or snow, particularly when the sun comes out…
Stay safe and well all, happy gardening!
For more Six on Saturday stories, a visit to the Propagator at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com is recommended!