RAY’S FAVOURITE PLANTS FOR FEBRUARY
Chinese bramble, Rubus tricolor: This is an attractive weed suppressor and a labour-saving choice for this large garden, which Ray and Penny tend without any outside help. An evergreen shrub, it has emerald-coloured leaves covered in red bristles, which are attractive at this time of year, with cream flowers in the summer and red fruits in autumn. It can reach 20in (50cm) in height in 10 years, with a spread of up to 8ft (2.5m).
Corkscrew hazel, Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’: A feature tree, with attractive twisted branches, creating the effect of a natural sculpture. “It is a deciduous tree, but it has good, yellow catkins in late winter,” says Ray. It prefers a moist and well-drained soil. The ultimate height is 8-13ft (2.5-4m).
Magnolia ‘Star Wars’: This tree has large, rosy pink flowers, which may grow up to 11in (28cm) wide and should last from March to May. The well-shaped, shiny, green leaves add to its appeal. “It might need rabbit protection until it is established,” suggests Ray. Height up to 26ft (8m); spread 13ft (4m).
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’: Fragrant flowers in January and February are hard to come by, but this large shrub delivers plenty of both. Upright, with leathery, evergreen leaves, the flowers create little clusters of pink and white. It can be planted near a front or back door to enjoy the glorious scent. It will grow up to 10ft (3m) tall and 5ft (1.5m) wide.
Common juniper, Juniperus communis: “Thanks to Penny’s clipping skills, this looks good all year round in our garden,” says Ray of this evergreen conifer, which is grown by the main lawn and cloud-pruned to create a striking focal point. The small tree has needle-thin, grey-green leaves and small black berries. The ultimate height is 26ft (8m); spread 13ft (4m).