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Planting for Winter Interest

Basking in the glories of the autumn, now is the time to consider plants with winter interest. The rich scents from the white flowers of Sarcococca cut and put in a vase can fill a room over the Christmas period and this easy to care for evergreen shrub is perfectly hardy. Flowering from December through to March it tolerates shade and exposed conditions. Grown against a wall the deeply stylish evergreen Garrya elliptica simply sings its way into Winter. Tolerating full sun to partial shade its glossy grey-green leaves make an excellent summer foil, but the real joy of this shrub are its long hanging catkins during winter. G. ‘James Roof' is a particularly good specimen with catkins reaching 30cm. Other plants to consider which extend winter interest include Callicarpa and its brilliant purple berries, soft winter heathers and rich stem colours provided by Dogwoods, such as Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire'. ;

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Plant of the Week: Conifers

Plant of the Week: Conifers

Super-reliable, versatile and easy-going, conifers are a great choice for all styles of garden. Whether it's clipped yew setting off formal herbaceous borders, minimalist needlepoint spears of Italian cypress marching through contemporary gardens, or a cone-bearing pine to provide food and shelter for wildlife, there's a conifer to suit you.

Not all are evergreen, or even have needles. The lovely maidenhair tree, Ginkgo biloba, has curious fan-shaped leaves which turn butter yellow before they fall in autumn. Others display extraordinary colours, like Korean fir with its steely-blue cones. Get to know this amazing family of plants and you could find yourself pleasantly surprised.

Keeping down weeds

Weeds, so the saying goes, are just plants in the wrong place. The trouble is, there are so many of them. However much you might think dandelions are pretty, or ground elder has elegant leaves, if you stop to admire them too long you (and your plants) will quickly be overrun.

You'll pro…

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