1. This isn’t one of the more commonly grown dwarf winter irises, possibly Iris reticulata ‘Fabiola’, but I stand to be corrected. The dark blue and white falls have a flash of yellow. Continue reading “Six On Saturday From RHS Garden Wisley”
Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ has barely even ankle high flowers that are a muddy mix of pale blue, cream and yellow. It can be identified by the unusual colour, and the beautiful veins on the falls. Blue stripes radiate from a yellow blotch that is spotted blue. Three standards (upper petals) are striped and veined too.
Continue reading “Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’, A Dwarf Winter Iris With Stripes”
Interaction between the camera lens and the sun’s rays has sent rainbows tumbling from the top right. I’m not sure if that’s a feature or a flaw… perhaps a bit of both.
Pockets of snowdrops are barely distinguishable from the snow at first glance but, once your eye tunes in, they seem illuminated like tiny, ankle-high lamps. Long, narrow tree shadows accentuate the ray effect while the shade and golden rays together capture that feeling of warmth and exposure we Northerners associate with winter… the lucky ones, that is, who have the means of keeping warm. Continue reading “January Squares: Snowdrops Glisten”
Only last week I was bemoaning the lack of a Tardis to transport me to a snow-covered Bodnant Garden, near Tal-y-Cafn, Conwy, Wales. The universe did not send me a Tardis, but it did the next best thing. A friend asked us to check out the place his family came from – Dolgellau – and Bodnant just happened to be on our way home.
While the snow in the garden had long gone, heavy white shawls on the Snowdonia mountain range opposite gave Bodnant a wintry feeling. The 130 acres of garden give plenty of scope for walking: you really need some form of season ticket* to make the most of it all. Continue reading “Winter Walk Around Bodnant Garden in Wales”
I’m a big fan of winter gardens that make the most of plants that look good when herbaceous borders are expanses of mulch-covered dirt. Trees with white trunks such as this Betula utilis var jacquemontii (Himalayan birch) often feature, together with evergreens, light-reflecting grasses, red stemmed Cornus (dogwood), Skimmia, Hamamelis (witch hazel), flowering heather, hellebores, Bergenia, Cyclamen and winter flowering bulbs.
Plants like this seem to shrug off winter weather, but the current cold spell means that the hardiness of plants of all types is being tested in many UK and American gardens.
Some gardeners go to great lengths to keep tender plants alive, wrapping their pots up, covering them with some form of plant blanket, or moving them indoors. Others will only plant what grows. Many of us are somewhere in-between, willing to offer our plant treasures a helping hand if conditions are unusually bad, provided we know what to do.
Here’s a closer look at witch hazel (Hamamelis). Ancient lore accords these flowering shrubs medicinal, cultural and even religious value, but here I’m focusing on their decorative quality. In the UK, witch hazels drop their leaves in autumn, then produce colourful flowers that are particularly welcome in the winter garden.
The flowers appear to float, held up in the air on slender stems that would otherwise go unnoticed in deciduous plantings. The rusty orange one particularly attracted me. Rich purple calyces provide a beautiful contrast, and the colour palette just seems to get better as the older petals wither. Continue reading “Witch Hazel In Winter Gardens”