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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Top Winter Perennials

Top Winter Perennials
Helleborus is an excellent place to start. We have the lovely helleborus Niger which graces most garden centres and its probably the most common bought, but there are so many growable varieties foetidus (stinking hellebore),sterni, argustifolia and orientalis (known as the Lenten rose) Well known for their fabulous hybrids are the breeders Ashwood, Harvington. Harvington have brought some amazing durable double orientalis varieties. Recently we have seen a lot or Eric Smiths or ericsmithii varieties come to the market. These are a cross between sernii and helleborus niger. Consequently all the varieties have the best of both.

Winter Sunshine is a joy, the glowing flowers stand above the foliage more and have a much longer flowering period.

Take a look at Erysimum ‘Winter Joy’, perfect for this time of year. It begins its mauve flowering before the excellent Bowles Mauve so we can enjoy it sooner and it is a little more compact. It is a joy to have a definite lavender flower lifting our borders now. Great to grow in our heavy clay soils around here as it is related to wall flowers.

Euphorbia are about to get interesting. Every year we seem to excel in new silver or multicoloured winter interest foliage varieties like ‘Tiger Eyes’ and ‘Ascot Rainbow’ but the old  evergreen spreading ones, like robbiae and wulfenii, still have a home in most gardens and make their early return. Oxford Botanic have the collection and they are an absolute picture when the sun highlights the unusual golden flower heads in early spring.

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