We started off by having a general discussion about events and courses happening at the Garden House over the next few months.
After having an interesting demonstration by Bridge on how to make Begonia leaf cuttings, we went on to look at plants which are a good addition to the winter garden:
Sarcoccoca confusa – sweet box or Christmas box – these are compact evergreen shrubs with leathery leaves and scented white flowers in the winter. The flowers are followed by shiny black berries which can sometimes last through to the following winter. They do well in shade and look good in patio containers.
Sarcoccoca hookeriana ‘Winter Gem’– these have larger leaves and their fragrant white flowers are followed by glossy red berries.
Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’or Siberian dogwood – these shrubs are grown for their red winter stems and produce small white flowers in late spring/early summer. They prefer damp soil and do well beside ponds and streams. If a third of the stems are cut down to the ground in spring, they are more likely to produce more colourful stems the following winter.
Skimmia – these are bushy evergreen shrubs with shiny black leaves and small clusters of fragrant white flowers. On fertilised female plants, these are followed by bright red berries. On most varieties, there are male and female flowers on separate plants. It prefers moist but well drained soil which would benefit from the addition of leaf mould. There is a good collection of these at Wakehurst Place.
Cyclamen hederifolium or ivy-leaved cyclamen – these are outdoor plants which prefer to be in damp shade. Again they would benefit from the addition of leaf mould to the soil. They are perennials and have dark green, quite mottled leaves and pink fragrant flowers. Mary mentioned that there are many growing under trees at Farley Farm.
Helleborus niger or Christmas rose – these are semi-evergreen perennials with leathery dark green leaves. They have white bowl-shaped flowers which appear in late winter/early spring. They do very well in containers.
Jobs this week:
- Iris Reticulata ‘Purple Gem’ were planted in the hosta pots. These will emerge in February before the hostas get going.
- Snowdrops, black grass and anemone blanda were planted together in containers where they will make a stunning display next spring.
- Anemone blanda and snowdrops were planted in the Winter Bed.
- Work was done to keep the compost in order.
- The Pawlonia tree bed was tidied and red tulip bulbs and ferns were planted.
- We continued to make sure ‘Little Dixter’ is looking its best through the winter months.
- Work carried on in the greenhouse pricking out the Euphorbia oblongata.
- Ricinus was cleared out of the main tulip bed.
- Leaf mould was relocated to a new home.