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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Winter 2004
John Cushnie On...

8 November 2006

Pot with hyacinths What better place to impress visitors than the front of your home? It is one thing to walk past plants and admire them but when you are waiting for the door to open you have time to study the plants, admire them and possibly drink in their fragrance.

At this dreary time of the year a bit of colour is welcoming for the postman and milkman and in the run-up to Christmas there are bound to be more visitors than normal.
Choose interesting, attractive containers rather than plain earthenware or brown plastic. Make sure that there are adequate drainage holes in the base.

Plants in a soil-based compost such as John Innes No 2 will be easier to water and less likely to blow over in a storm than when planted in soil-less compost.

CrocusFor immediate interest select shrubs with flower or berries adding a few with coloured or variegated leaves. For later in the winter include some dwarf bulbs such as crocus, scilla and grape hyacinths.

Evergreen skimmias will hold their bright red berries for long periods. The male form, Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ produces large panicles of pink buds in winter that open white in spring.

Gaultheria mucronata has small, dark green leaves with masses of winter berries. Select from white, pink, magenta, red and purple but for a good display next year there will need to be a male, non-berrying plant.

Jasminum nudiflorum Small, flowering plants of the evergreen clematis, trained on canes, will be available from garden centres and D.I.Y.stores. Look out for other hardy wall plants such as Jasminum nudiflorum with its colourful bright yellow flowers on dark green leafless stems.

Variegated ivy and Eounymus ‘Emerald Gaiety’ and E. ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’ will provide leaf colour.

Sarcocca confusaEarly forced hyacinths and scented jonquils will soon be for sale in flower. A few of these will fill the porch and surrounding area with fragrance.

A single pot grown plant of the evergreen shrub, Sarcocca confusa will, when in flower, exude its sweet perfume all around the front door. A plant on either side will have your visitors lingering in the cold air rather than move inside, away from the experience.

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