Six on Saturday. January Delights.

This January seems to be limping by with unparalleled bleakness . I have created a winter garden to give colour and pleasure though the long winter days, but now we are all under house arrest because of an out of control plague, counting the spots on your snowdrops is not the same, because you can’t share them with like-minded friends. And Pip who used to share my garden adventures is long gone.

Snowdrops have to be first on the list because they are the highlights of the season, bravely putting up with storms and snow. I have rather a lot of different snowdrops, but I know that people who don’t share my addiction will say that they are not different at all. I could go on at length about all my snowdrops and I very often do, but today I will show you just a few, so as not to bore those of you who are not affected with seasonal galanthomania.

Galanthus ‘Reverend Hailstone’ is the tallest one I have with the most enormous flowers.

Galanthus ‘Reverend Hailstone’

And the green markings on the outer petals make ‘Corrin’ stand out from the crowd.

Galanthus ‘‘Corrin’

Galanthus ‘Mighty Atom’ is a justly popular one, it is nowhere near as big and substantial as the good Reverend Hailstone’ but it bulks up quickly to make nice clumps.

Galanthus ‘Mighty Atom’

There will be more snowdrops in future posts but for now we will move on to number two which is something lovely in the greenhouse. I have a pot of serenely beautiful Narcisssus bulbodicum ‘Mary Poppins’. This is a creamy white hoop petticoat daffodil and you can see how it got its name, the flowers are just like little petticoats.

Narcissus bulbodicum ‘Mary Poppins’

Coming in at number three we have hellebores. They do very well in my garden and seed everywhere so I have thousands. I have read that you should not let them seed because the seedlings will be inferior, but this is rubbish, I have never come across an ugly hellebore. But having them everywhere has its drawbacks when it comes to cutting off their leaves each year, Don’t try it on a windy day as they fly everywhere. It’s best done before the flowers emerge, otherwise you cut the flower stalks off too, as I did last week. Cutting off the leaves means your flowers stand out well. But the main reason for doing it is to protect the plants from the dreaded blackspot which often starts on the leaves and damages the plants. You should burn the leaves rather than composting them to prevent the spores of leaf spot spreading. The correct name is microsphaeropsis hellebori although you probably don’t want to know that, it’s not a word you can drop casually into conversation very often. Anyway here are just a few hellebores, there will be lots more before the end of the season.

The next one is Helleborus argutifolius which means ‘holly- leaved’. It used to be called Helleborus corsicus because that is where it comes from. I love it for its cup -shaped apple-green flowers.

Helleborus argutifolius.

Not all the plants in the winter garden are about flowers, many of them are grown for their interesting or colourful bark. Acer griseum is one of the most eye-catching of these. Who could resist this cinnamon-coloured peeling bark? I noticed last year that some of these trees in Angelsey Abbey winter garden had been peeled which destroyed the whole point of them. Having said this, I have been known to peel my birches but this is because it is a childish pleasure like popping fuchsia flowers, I don’t think it does them any harm, but it doesn’t do them any good either. Anyway, I wouldn’t dream of doing it to my Acer griseum.

Acer griseum

Fragrance is one of the pleasures of the winter garden and I love the spicy scent of the sarcococcas. Sarcococca confusa has shiny green leaves all year round and deliciously scented, white flowers.

Sarcococca hookeriana var. Digyna is a suckering plant with tufts of fragrant creamy flowers and just as lovely.

Sarcococca hookeriana var. Dygna

I suppose these shrubs would be overlooked if it wasn’t for the amazing scent but they are useful for shady places all year . I would like a hedge of them like the one along the footpath to the car park at Anglesey Abbey but they are expensive to buy.

Last, but not least, I have to mention the witch hazels which are another winter passion of mine. I have quite a few, but not quite as many as Cathy at the Rambling in the Garden blog. But then nobody has quite as many as Cathy who has a passion for witches. Mine are all hybrids between the Chinese Hamamelis mollis and the Japanese Hamamelis japonica. They come in a wonderful range of flowers like spangled spiders. They have an elusive fragrance which is dispersed by the wind very quickly. If you bring a few sprigs into the house though, they smell delicious.

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Livia’
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Peel’
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’
Hamamelis xintermedia ‘Vesna’

I have several yellow ones too but they always bloom a little later.

So January and pandemics may be depressing, but that doesn’t have to mean you have a gloomy garden. Actually, it does at the moment because it is snowing, but it won’t last long and in another post where I am not constrained by the number six ordained by the host of this meme, The Propagator, I will show you the winter garden. It may involve snowdrops, but at least you don’t have to get on your hands and knees as you would if you could come round the garden with me.

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54 Responses to Six on Saturday. January Delights.

  1. You have lots going on in your garden for January. I especially like your Hamamelis selection, and Livia is such a striking colour.

  2. I love your hellebores. I am envious. I was going to go to one of the bigger garden centres to look for a plant but of course,we are in lockdown and we can’t change areas.

    • Chloris says:

      Prowling round nurseries is my favourite occupation, I’m suffering from withdrawal symptoms. I hope you can get out and find your witch hazel before long,

  3. Heyjude says:

    You have a delightful winter garden. The hellebores are lovely and ‘Livia’ is a beautiful colour. I recollect the scent of ‘Orange Peel’ when I came across it in RHS Wisley some years ago. My winter garden is composed of one snowdrop (so far) a couple of aconites and some winter honeysuckle which has barely any fragrance and looks untidy the rest of the year. I think that might be coming out once I pluck up courage to get in the garden again.

  4. So many blooms for January. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more winter plantings.

  5. tonytomeo says:

    It would be nice is hamamelis were more popular here. I suppose that there are too many flashier flowers to bloom through winter here. We grew it years ago, but could not sell enough of it.

  6. Flowers in winter are a welcome sight and fragrant ones a delight for the nose.

  7. Noelle M says:

    What a splendid display for January, and I love your description of the snowdrops. I am just starting out on my journey re special snowdrops, and am getting to learn to observe how the different parts relate to each other and can be different from one cultivar to another.

  8. What a lovely selection. I saw the Mary Poppins narcissus for the first time at the Chelsea Physic Garden last year and fell in love. I do like your witchhazel collection too. I planted ‘Aphrodite’ for my mum in the autumn which is rather lovely but don’t have any of my own.

  9. Kris P says:

    Winter wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t share your love of snowdrops, Chloris! I’m always surprised at how early your hellebores bloom – or perhaps it would be more correct to say I’m surprised at how late mine bloom relative to those of gardeners in the UK and the Pacific Northwest. I wonder if our here hellebores wait for the rain to arrive? I always admire your (and Cathy’s) witch hazels too, plants I’ve no chance at all of growing.

    Conditions here with respect to the pandemic are equally dire, if not worse, but at least we finally have people in charge at the federal level that aren’t idiots. And, last night and this morning we finally got a little rain, so things are looking up.

    • Chloris says:

      We’ve been through a few seasons together now through our blogs, haven’t we Kris? I would recognise your lovely garden anywhere even though I have never met you. And you know all about my winter garden. The weather here is dreary and wet but the winter flowers are shining through.

  10. Snow! ahhhh! I love drawing of you and Pip, the Sarcocca and the Witch Hazel, and seedling Helllebores as well, sometimes I wonder where that kind of information comes from – Hellebore snobs? Best to keep counting the spots on the Snowdrops for a while. I am here watering and counting Bromeliads.

    • Chloris says:

      Pip’s likeness is very good but dear Beatrice has kindly taken years off me, all my wrinkles have gone and I look younger than my daughter. Bless her. Yes, counting snowdrop spots is the only thing I’m allowed to do. I can’t even count anybody else’s snowdrop spots right now, it’s against the law.. Enjoy your bromeliads.

      • You have a lovely, dewy appearance in the drawing. Beatrice is wonderful. There is a phone app here that removes all the wrinkles from photos, some friends used them for Christmas card images, I had to laugh.

  11. janesmudgeegarden says:

    One of my first enjoyable experiences of blogging was to read about your snowdrops, Chloris, before I even knew they were so popular in the UK, and you helped me identify my ‘Nivalis’ which is the only one I have, and which didn’t put in an appearance this year. I think ‘Orange Peel’ is the most perfect name for that particular Hamamelis!

  12. Frog says:

    What a lovely collection of hamamelis ! I have admired them in past years posts but one can’t tire of them. Snowdrops don’t do well for me. I tried again this year and will fail again. I know I should be buying them in the green but wasn’t organised – and I just feel they would probably fail too.

    • Chloris says:

      Buying snowdrops in the green is the best way to get them going. But I could dig some up for you in the autumn just before the shoots appear and you can try again. You do need snowdrops, everybody does.

  13. fredgardener says:

    Ahh ! Acer griseum bark…. a lovely tree for gorgeous pictures. I’m also impressed by the hamamelis collection you have. Nice Six as always Chloris, well illustrated with nice pictures.

  14. Cathy says:

    Oh thank you for sharing some of your winter lovelies, Chloris and I look forward to the promised post about your winter garden. What a joy it is to have such plants at this time of year! Your Livia looks gorgeous – perhaps one to think about IF I was accidentally adding another to collection… The markings on Corrin look really distinctive, not one I have come across before. Your hellebores are more advanced than mine – the ones I showed in my SoS post are ahead of the others, which are still pushing buds up now. Is there a particular supplier you use for your unusual N bulbicodum?

    • Chloris says:

      Livia is a beauty, I bought one for my daughter too and she loves it. But where would you put another one? The witch hazels are fabulous this year, I’ m seriously thinking of getting another one myself. I will be emailing you soon and I’ll give you the name of my bulb supplier.

      • Cathy says:

        Look forward to hearing from you 😊 I have thought there wasn’t space for another one before now but I am sure there are new corners to find if I search the stretchy boundaries! I agree that it has been a good year for them – and I think there is a tiny bit of colour on Amethyst now too

  15. So jealous of your mild, flowery winters.

  16. snowbird says:

    What a stunning array of blooms you have, and to think it’s January. I love them all, especially the hellebores, snowdrops and witchhazel. That peeling bark is a treat! I really must come and visit your delightful garden one day.xxx

    • Chloris says:

      And February is nearly here and the winter garden will really get going. I hope you will visit me one day, right now visiting anyone seems an impossible dream. We were supposed to be coming up your way last year and we hope it will happen this year but who knows how long it will be before we can go anywhere?

  17. Lots of colour, Chloris! How tall is that Reverend snodrop, please?

  18. Snowdrop! Although I also spelled it snwodrop, snowdroop etc before that last one!

  19. Lavinia Ross says:

    The witch hazel specimens are very striking. I am more familiar with the wild ones that grew near a place I lived in New England.

  20. Veronica says:

    What lovely photographs and so many surpises that can be found at this bleak time if one looks in the right places .

    • Chloris says:

      Hello Veronica, lovely to hear from you. It’s nearly a year since we went to Quarry Bank Mill with you and winter blooms were out. Let’s hope we can get together again soon, it’s been a long year.

  21. Anna greentapestry says:

    Oh it’s always a pleasure to see your snowdrops Chloris and I for one can’t wait to see more 😂 I have ummed and awed over ‘Corrin’ before now. She is a beauty! Of the two hamamelis ‘Livia’ and ‘Diane’ which do your prefer?

  22. Cathy says:

    I always assumed your garden was too far soith to get snow Chloris! Hope all your treasures are safe. Your hellebores are wonderful, flowering so nicely in January already. I like that Witch Hazel Livia… very vibrant. I am fed up with our lockdown for the simple fact that our garden centres and nurseries are all closed and I was hoping to find myself a nice Witch Hazel this year!

    • Chloris says:

      We do get snow but so far this year it hasn’t stayed for more than a few hours. We do seem to be getting endless rain though. I know, not being able to go to nurseries or garden centres is very hard for gardeners who need their regular fix. I hope you find your witch hazel, they are magical.

  23. Annette says:

    Last time I passed I didn’t have time to comment on your beautiful flowers. I’m actually about to go away and this week has been mad to say the least. I know it’s tough to be locked up but at least we both have a garden and flowers to cheer us up. Think of the poor souls crammed in small apartments. Do you grow the Narcissus bulbodicum in a pot? I saw them in Spain in a meadow, they’re so endearing. Your hamamelis and helleborus are delightful too, especially Livia, such a velvety dark red. I’ve also planted Acer griseum but I think it’ll be a long time before I have such a fine trunk and peeling bark. Any plans yet as regards your first trip to Najac? They want to stop all voyages for months to come, the whole madness is meant to continue for years. Bon courage and keep your chin up.

  24. Chloris says:

    I grow Narcissus bulbodicum in pots in the greenhouse, they are a delight but I don’t think they’d survive outside. Goodness knows when we will get down to Najac, our dear ones aren’t there yet, they are hoping to come down later in February. Fingers crossed that we will be allowed down later in the summer.

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