And so it goes on, this is not what we are used to in Suffolk. The snow plough had to clear the top of the lane. We bravely ventured out, and even the Pianist wore his bear suit, his is a fetching shade of blue but it has no ears. I think bear suits should have ears. To make up for this he wears a furry hat. One of the great advantages of getting older is not caring what you look like.
I don’t know whether we are being singled out here in the East, but if we are I think it’s a poor show. Talking about bear suits, I was very taken by an item of news the other day in the Derbyshire Times with the headline ‘Lockdown fine for naked man’. Presumably, it is not so cold in Derbyshire. A man was fined £200 for breaking lockdown and parking in a closed car park. He said his journey was necessary to buy wet wipes and he took some wrong turnings and got lost. I don’t know whether wet wipes are essential items. He didn’t explain why he was sitting in his car completely naked but the story cheered me up enormously. I am not sure whether the fine was for going out, for being in a closed car park or forgetting to put his clothes on, but presumably £200 covers the lot and is a lesson to us all.
But I digress, let’s rewind to last Friday when the sun shone, the birds sang and my winter garden sparkled. Spring was really in the air or so we thought. Here we are at the winter garden. If you look carefully you will see a ghost lurking in the top left of the photo, but never mind that, here is Hamamelis ‘Jelena’ looking wonderful with Cornus ‘Winter Fire’.
The witch hazels are the best they have ever been this year.
‘Jelena’ looks fabulous with the orange cornus and to the right, the ghostly white stems of Rubus thibetanus ‘Silver Fern’ which is not quite as invasive as the more common, Rubus cockburnianus. But still I keep it firmly under control
The coloured stems of cornus are wonderful for the winter garden and I have them in red, orange, yellowy green and black. The best orange one is ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’ but I forgot to take a photo of it and it doesn’t look very orange right now. The next one is the very vigorous Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’ which is supposed to be golden but it is more yellowy green. Behind it is the holly-like ‘Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki Tricolour’ and behind that a phormium. I am very keen on lots of contrasting shape and form in the winter garden.
The black Cornus kesselringii is a good foil for the white blossom of my Japanese Apricot.
The thin stems to the right of the birch tree belong to another cornus, this one is a low growing suckering one called Cornus sericea ‘Kelseyii’. To the right of the birch is Abies koreana which I love for its shape and its wonderful cones which stand like candles on the tips of the branches.
Cornus stolonifera ‘Kelseyii’ is a neat, thin stemmed cornus which suckers and makes a nice dense bush. The stems are reddish brown.
To the right of the little cornus is Betula albosinensis ‘Pink Champagne’.
I like to have lots of coloured stems in the winter garden but I also include a few conifers. On the photo below you can see the red stemmed Acer pensylvaticum ‘Erythrocladum’ in the foreground and red Cornus alba ‘Baton Rouge’ behind the abies. The conifer to the left is Cryptomeria japonica ‘Elegans’ which usually turns a coppery bronze in winter but this year is staying stubbornly green.
I love rich chestnut brown stems too and the peeling bark of Prunus serrula looks fabulous with Meulenbergia astonii which is like tangled copper wire.
Evergreens are an important part of the winter garden. The native daphne laureola pops up all over my garden and I value it for the shiny, evergreen leaves. The epimedium in front of it will have its leaves cut off soon so that the flowers stand out.
Photinia fraseri ‘Pink Marble’ is another evergreen and I love the way the leaves are variegated with pink and cream.
Another shrub with pink leaves which looks good all year round is Lophomyrtus x ralphii from New Zealand.
Sarcococcas are evergreen and the smell when you walk past them is wonderful.
The shrub Edgeworthia chrysantha has little yellow button flowers which are fragrant. Before the snow arrived the buds were just about to come out. I am worried about it tonight though because the temperature is supposed to be going below -7 c.
I am also very worried about the flowers on my white Japanese Apricot, Prunus mume ‘Omoi -no-mama’, it is my pride and joy.
I have shown you several witch hazels in recent posts and now my first yellow one is in bloom. It is called Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Westerstede’ and like most of the yellow flowered ones its leaves go buttery yellow in the autumn.
Nearby I have a yellow leaved choisya called Choisya ternata ‘Goldfingers’. As I said, I like contrasting foliage and texture so this is planted with the silver hedgehog holly, Ilex ferox ‘Argentea’ and a curly hazel, Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’
And then we come to the the stumpery and beyond this is where I have been working for weeks developing a new part of the garden. But that is for another day.
Of course there are many different snowdrops down here, I know quite a few bloggers don’t quite get the snowdrop obsession, so I will show you just a few to try and convince you that they don’t all look the same.
I might have to show you some more another day when the snow has gone. And then there are the hellebores too but they will have to wait. The winter garden is worth another visit because it looks better and better as the spring comes on.