Now is the time to get forced bulbs like Narcissus Paperwhite and Grand Soleil D’Or going for indoor Christmas displays. They should take about 6 weeks from planting. These bulbs can be planted in either soil, stones, gravel, pebbles or glass marbles – they just need anchoring and some water. Containers don’t need to have drainage holes – just need to be about 3-4 inches deep. They look good in glass bowls for example. Put the bulbs in pointed end up on top of the stone layer or in soil with top protruding. They need water to start the growing process. The bulbs don’t need light at this stage and like to be kept quite cool. Check daily to ensure they have sufficient water. When roots start to develop move container to sunny window but try not to let them get too warm or they’ll grow leggy. Once plants flower they will last longer out of direct sunlight. Use twigs pressed into the gravel to support growth.
We also looked at some evergreens – they are very important in garden design and can be the backbone of the garden providing structure.
- Taxus baccata fastigiata ‘Aureomarginata’ or Golden Irish yew-is a large, bushy, upright evergreen shrub with erect shoots bearing radially arranged, dark green leaves. Ultimate height 2.5 – 4 metres.
- Thuja plicata ‘Zebrina’ or Western or Pacific red cedar. Thuja are fast-growing evergreen trees of narrowly conical habit, with flat sprays of tiny, aromatic, scale-like leaves and small knobbly cones. Zebrina has flat sprays of aromatic leaves with creamy yellow bands.
- Camellia – evergreen shrub with glossy leaves. They need an acid soil – so ericaceous compost.
- Myrtus communis subspecies tarentina -a small evergreen shrub of dense growth, with small, narrowly ovate leaves, and pink buds opening to white flowers followed by white berries. It is very fragrant.
- Viburnum tinus is a dense, evergreen shrub with dark and oval, glossy leaves. It is a popular for hedging and bears strongly fragrant pinkish-white flowers.
- Viburnum davidii is a small spreading evergreen shrub, with elliptic, deep green, leathery, three-veined leaves and heads of small white flowers followed by long-lasting blue-black berries.
- Prunus lusitanica variegate or Portuguese laurel is a dense, bushy, spreading, evergreen shrub or small tree with dark red shoots, glossy, dark green leaves and, in early summer small, fragrant, white flowers followed by red fruit that ripen to black.
- Choisia ‘Aztec pearl’ is a small evergreen shrub of open rounded habit, with bright green leaves. Flowers are fragrant, white, tinged pink in bud, in small clusters in late spring, and again in autumn. It grows to 1.5 – 2.5 metres and is good for smaller gardens.
- Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’ is a sized evergreen shrub with leathery leaves narrowly edged with cream. Small white flowers in spherical clusters, followed by black fruits.
Activities in the garden this week:
- More work on edging the beds
- Sowing winter salads in greenhouse
- Planting blueberries in ericaceous compost in pots
- Planting allium spiders, and cutting back nepeta and geraniums in sunken garden
- Lifting and storing dahlias
- Planting out plumbago
- Maintaining Little Dixter