Winter Colour in the Garden, the Joys of January


 




Sarcococca hookeriana

Consider planting Sarcococca hookeriana 'Digyna' commonly referred to as Christmas box or Sweet box. This shiny narrow leaved evergreen shrub sits quietly during the summer in the bed or border whilst the summer flowering plants show off. It bides its time until in early winter it displays clusters of delicate white flowers, add to this its sweet scent and you certainly have a shrub worth growing. Many varieties of Sarcococca are referred to as Christmas box but not all are frost hardy, the variety mentioned above is fully hardy. The best practice is when sourcing plants always try to use the Latin rather than the common name. Wondering if you have a spot for this unassuming plant, well I can tell you it grows approx 1.2 metres (4ft) high by 1 metre (3ft) wide. Avoid soil that tends to dry out (no problem in Irish gardens) as this slows down growth and causes unreliable flowering. Thriving in sun, partial shade or deep shade, I have found that for a very deep scent the best option is to group 3 plants together.

When do I prune Sarcococca?
Pruning can be carried out from April to May on Sarcococca, it is pruned by removing any damaged, dead, crossing or poorly placed shoots.

Can I transplant Sarcococca, When can I transplant Sarcococca?
Sarcococca can be moved in March, the younger the better.

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'

Consider planting Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' commonly referred to as the winter flowering Viburnum or "Pink Dawn". This twiggy deciduous shrub flowers from autumn right through to spring.A twiggy shrub it is and this is hammered home by the fact that it flowers whilst totally leafless, once the matt-green ribbed leaves emerge the flowers are no where to be seen. From a distance it seems that the pink flowers are floating in the air as you may not realise there is a shrub there. The pink flowers are a darker pink when in bud form; once they open a lightning occurs along with deeply fragrant scent.

Would you like to grow this frost hardy plant which is a great talking point ,well see if you have room for a plant approx 3 metres (10ft) high by 2.5 metres (8ft) wide. It is at home in either acid or alkaline soil and thrives in sun to partial shade.

When do I prune Viburnum x bodnantense?
Pruning can be carried out from March to April on Viburnum x bodnantense, it is pruned by removing any damaged, dead, crossing or poorly placed growth.

Can I transplant Viburnum x bodnantense, When can I transplant Viburnum x bodnantense?
Viburnum x bodnantense can be moved in from December to early February, the younger the better.

Witch Hazel

Consider planting Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida' commonly known as 'Witch Hazel'. This large shrub is sometimes classed as a small tree due to its ultimate height of 3 metres (10ft); it also spreads to 3 metres (10ft). Yes, I know it's large but if you have the space it will reward you with spidery orange flowers for most of the winter. Colour during the winter does not have to be all about heathers, beautiful as they are. This plant will display beautiful autumn tints of yellows, oranges and reds before leaf-fall. Witch Hazel will grow in sun or partial shade and thrives in moist acid soil, growing slower in alkaline soil. Witch hazel winter flowering is truly a joy to behold.

When do I prune Hamamelis x intermedia?
Pruning can be carried out from March to April on Hamamelis x intermedia, it is pruned by removing any damaged, dead, crossing or poorly placed growth.

Can I transplant Hamamelis x intermedia, When can I transplant Hamamelis x intermedia?
Hamamelis x intermedia can be moved from December to early February, the younger the better.

Cornus alba 'Sibirica'

Consider planting Cornus alba 'Sibirica' commonly known as the Winter Dogwood, Westonbirt Dogwood, Tatarian Dogwood or Red-barked dogwood. We grow this whippy shrub for its thicket of coral red stems this time of year. Large green leaves in summer change to give us rich reddish tints in autumn or fall, finally dropping in late autumn to display the red stems. A height of 2 metres (6ft) and a spread of 2 metres (6ft) are usually achieved by this shrub. Growing well in full sun to partial shade it gives the best autumn tints on moist soil. As with most of the plants I mention in this section, this shrub is frost hardy. One plant is sufficient for a small garden, on the other hand if you have large garden a mass planting is a joy to behold especially when viewed across a snow covered lawn.

When do I prune Cornus alba?
Pruning can be carried out in March on Cornus alba, it should be pruned back hard to within a few inches of the base thus creating a plentiful supply of fresh red shoots next season.

Can I transplant Cornus alba, When can I transplant Cornus alba?
Cornus alba can be moved from December to early February, the younger the better.

Contorted Hazel

Consider planting Corylus avellana 'Contorta' commonly known as the corkscrew hazel, cobnut or filbert. This large shrub enlivens the winter garden with its decorative contorted form. Its strong growing shoots are coiled and twisted, hanging from these are yellow 'lambs tail like' catkins. The contorted hazel is widely used in flower arranging for its architectural value. Would you like to grow this frost hardy plant which is a grown more for form than flower, well you will need room for a plant approx 5 metres (15ft) high by 5 metres (15ft) wide. It is at home in either acid or alkaline soil and thrives in sun to partial shade.

When do I prune Corylus avellana?
Pruning can be carried out from March to April on Corylus avellana, it is pruned by removing any damaged, dead, crossing or poorly placed growth. Straight stems should be removed as soon as they appear to preserve the contortion.

Can I transplant Corylus avellana, When can I transplant Corylus avellana?
Corylus avellana can be moved from December to early February, the younger the better.

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