We love De­cem­ber

for its fes­tive red-and-green fin­ery

Gardeners' World - - Contents - Words by James Alexan­der-Sin­clair

This month is, like many foot­ball matches, a game of two halves. The first half (BC – be­fore Christ­mas) is a frenzy of an­tic­i­pa­tion, sparkly lights, shop­ping, par­ties and the mar­shalling of hy­per-ex­citable chil­dren. The sec­ond part (AC – after Christ­mas) is mostly spent lolling around in arm­chairs, re­gret­ting that fi­nal mince pie and wish­ing your rel­a­tives knew when to go home. The only cer­tainty is that, like a stead­fast friend, your gar­den will be out there just wait­ing for all the cel­e­bra­tions to sub­side and will wel­come you back, at your leisure, to sort the com­post heap.


I adore a Siberian dogwood: they are, I think, a bit like por­cu­pines rat­tling their crim­son spines at the wa­tery win­ter light. Be­hind them looms the Pit­tospo­rum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’: as dark and sul­try as a lit­tle black storm cloud. The con­trast will bring a bit of De­cem­ber zip into your shrub­bery.

Cor­nus alba ‘Sibir­ica’

Will grow in most soil types, in sun or par­tial shade. Cut back the older, thicker stems in spring as the youngest stems are al­ways the bright­est. H x S 2.5m x 2.5m

Pit­tospo­rum tenuifolium ‘ Tom Thumb’

Prop­a­gate from soft­wood or semi-ripe cut­tings in sum­mer. Good in pots or raised beds. Mulch well for win­ter pro­tec­tion. H x S 100cm x 60cm


The amaryl­lis bulb orig­i­nates from the steam­ing jun­gles of south­ern Brazil. This va­ri­ety is a par­tic­u­larly al­lur­ing colour that man­ages to be both tra­di­tional and yet deeply ex­otic. One flow­er­ing on a side­board in, say, Sid­mouth or Sun­der­land, can trans­port us to a late-night caper as the sun sets over Ipanema Beach. Sud­denly the chills of win­ter are shrugged off and we find our­selves reach­ing for skimpy swimwear.

Hip­peas­trum ‘Royal Vel­vet’

It is not too late to plant a hip­peas­trum. Plant in good com­post with the top half of the bulb ex­posed. HxS 50cm x 10cm


If I close my eyes and in­hale deeply I imag­ine that I can smell these pa­per-white daf­fodils through the pages of this mag­a­zine. It is al­ways tricky to de­scribe a scent but I reckon that those pure white flow­ers smell of ev­ery lov­ing feel­ing that you have ever felt: love for a part­ner, love for a child, love for a par­ent or love for a puppy. Es­pe­cially love for a puppy.

Nar­cis­sus pa­pyraceus ‘Ziva’

The best nar­cis­sus for forc­ing. Keep in the dark for eight weeks after plant­ing in bowls then grad­u­ally bring into the light. Will need sup­port. HxS 40cm x 10m

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.