Happy haven

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Contents -

Age­less and EVER­GREEN

De­cid­u­ous trees and shrubs give you the plea­sure of watch­ing them change through the sea­sons, but sweep­ing up fallen leaves and petals can be a chore. Ev­er­greens do shed leaves, but a few at a time – and they of­fer struc­ture through­out the year. 3 STYLISH EVER­GREEN TREES

◆ Ar­bu­tus unedo, the straw­berry tree, has it all – beau­ti­ful bark, dainty fo­liage, a sprin­kling of flow­ers and cu­ri­ous bristly fruits that turn red in au­tumn.

◆ Pit­tospo­rum to­bira brings a touch of the Mediter­ranean and hon­eyed scent to a warm, shel­tered gar­den or court­yard.

◆ Holly al­ways looks smart flank­ing a path­way or door. There are many brightly var­ie­gated forms, such as ‘Golden King’ or sil­very Ilex aquifolium ‘Ar­gen­tea Marginata’. 3 FLOW­ER­ING EVER­GREEN SHRUBS

◆ Give a camel­lia the right spot – acid soil, out of the wind and morn­ing sun – and it will flower ev­ery year with no at­ten­tion at all. Plant it some­where you can leave the flow­ers as they fall – not in grass or gravel.

◆ Abelia x grandiflora (AGM) makes a lovely old-fash­ioned cot­tage gar­den plant with its grace­ful arcs of fo­liage and mass of pink flow­ers that go on all sum­mer. Grows big, but never over­bear­ing. Dwarf ver­sions with bright fo­liage are also avail­able.

◆ For a more ex­otic look, try fast-grow­ing Gre­vil­lea ‘Can­berra Gem’ with its pine­nee­dle leaves and spi­dery red flow­ers from April to July. It loves a hot, dry, sunny po­si­tion but is per­fectly hardy, de­spite be­ing na­tive to Aus­tralia. 3 FRA­GRANT EVER­GREEN SHRUBS

◆ Choisya ter­nata was, for many years a gar­den favourite, with glossy, fra­grant fo­liage and white flow­ers in May. Re­cently, it has been sup­planted in many gar­dens by Choisya x de­wit­teana ‘Aztec Pearl’, with brighter, more finely di­vided fo­liage.

◆ Sar­co­cocca con­fusa, or Christ­mas box, is an un­showy small shrub that re­ally earns its keep in win­ter – its tiny white flow­ers pack­ing an as­ton­ish­ing punch in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. Plant it near the front door so you can en­joy the scent.

◆ If your soil is poor and dry, it’s cry­ing out for rose­mary. Try the more un­usual pros­trate form, Ros­mar­i­nus of­fic­i­nalis ‘Pro­s­tra­tus’, which looks beau­ti­ful spilling over a ter­race wall or flight of steps. GLO­RI­OUS GRASSES Ever­green or de­cid­u­ous, grasses are won­der­fully un­de­mand­ing. For ev­er­greens, sim­ply comb out spent stalks once a year, and chop back by half af­ter a few years if they look tatty. De­cid­u­ous grasses just need chop­ping down in Fe­bru­ary be­fore new growth starts. Visit knoll­gar­ to help choose the best va­ri­eties for you.

Choose Choisya ter­nata for its fra­grant fo­liage

Ex­otic Gre­vil­lea ‘Can­berra Gem’ loves a dry spot

Camel­lias add a splash of early spring colour

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