10 Shrubs to Brighten the Winter Months

Most of us spend relatively little time in the garden during the winter months. Of course there are jobs to be done, but with plants growing slowly, short days, inclement weather and sometimes frozen or wet ground, the opportunities are naturally limited. Winter is a time for planning and preparation, time to stand back, see […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Megaskepasma erythrochlamys

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys: Brazilian red cloak It must appear to those less familiar with the plant world that botanists sometimes take the mickey when it comes to naming plants. Why else would we end up with trees called Lyonothamnus floribundus subsp. asplenifolius, or Metasequoia glyptostroboides, that no-one can pronounce, let alone remember? On the day that […]

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Bravery

I had ideas about going to the Great Dixter Spring Plant Fair this weekend, but it dawned on me that I should spend more time worrying about the plants I already have rather than acquiring new ones. This was something of an revelation for a confirmed plantaholic like myself, and one which I hope doesn’t occur too […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Rhus typhina

The list of plants I’d like to grow if I had space is endless and trees would make up many of that number. I am increasingly anxious to get on and start planting so that I might one day see them in maturity, but suspect I may already be a little late to achieve such a […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Olearia phloggopappa ‘Combers Pink’

Nestled deep in the Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, was the location for one of our Christmas photo shoots. It may sound strange, but I live and breath Christmas all year round; it’s my job. Somehow I’ve become immune to the absurdity of untangling fairy lights in warm spring sunshine and to trimming trees in sweltering heat. […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Sarcococca ruscifolia

Venturing out of the terrace doors this morning I am hit, full frontal, by the scent of Christmas Box, Sarcococca ruscifolia. The fragrance coming from the feathery white flowers is sweet, honeyed, almost sickly. Just one tiny sprig in the kitchen is filling the house with its delicious scent as I write this post. Unassuming […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Camellia ‘Cornish Spring’

So often winter flowering shrubs are big on fragrance but lacking in flower power. The likes of Lonicera x purpusii, Viburnum x bodnantense and Sarcococca confusa are all very well at close quarters, but their small, pale flowers would render them unremarkable if it were not for their potent scent. Camellias largely eschew fragrance in […]

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Daily Flower Candy – Leptospermum scoparium ‘Coral Candy’

What is marvellous about gardening is that one is always discovering new things. Last weekend I spotted this pretty Leptospermum, flowering its socks off by the war memorial in St Ives, Cornwall. The fine foliage and delicate blossoms were a welcome sight beneath the leaden sky. The flowers of L. scoparium ‘Coral Candy’ are double, […]

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Daily Flower Candy – Mahonia x media ‘Charity’

As the lowest low-pressure system in 150 years approaches the UK across the Atlantic, there’s precious little chance of enjoying any natural sunshine. A shrub guaranteed to brighten up the dullest, wettest winter is Mahonia x media ‘Charity’. It’s a garden stalwart, tolerating pollution and repelling intruders with its sharply pointed leaves.  On a warm winter’s day […]

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Plant Portraits: Osmanthus fragrans (Guìhuā (桂花) or Sweet Olive)

It is customary in Hong Kong for 5 star hotels to have a house fragrance, pumped into lobbies in heady clouds and sold at great expense in the gift shop. However, it’s not often one steps out of a car onto the street in China to be greeted by a similar olfactory experience. In fact […]

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