What’s in Bloom: Plenty of Winter Interest Here

Pinus mugo ‘Green Candle’ (Mountain or Mugo pine) This dense dwarf conifer has attractive dark green needles which do not change colour in autumn.  It has a very dense growth habit with new light green shoots in spring, for which it is named.

Taxus baccata ‘Hamersford’ (English yew) Curiously enough, this dwarf cultivar of English yew is not found in literature, however if anyone reading this knows anything about it – feel free to contribute!  It is a very slow grower with rounded leathery leaves, and a somewhat upright spreading growth habit – perhaps it is ‘Amersfoort’ after all – you will find it in the Show Garden.

Pinus thunbergii ‘Oculus-draconis’ (Dragon’s eye pine) Planted in 2006 in the Show Garden, this beauty is now topping 8 feet or more, and an excellent choice for plant collectors.  The stiff yellow-banded needles, shown up-close here, have a spreading habit and tend to be duller in winter, but to me they look just as good!

Acer griseum (Paperbark maple) Planted in the Entry Garden, these small trees stand out any time of year, particularly for the reddish brown exfoliating bark.  The keys are held well into winter, shown here, adding to its year round appeal.

Helleborus foetidus (Stinking hellebore) These evergreen perennials have a bushy habit with deep green leaves.  Although they will tolerate full sun, they prefer a sheltered position from strong winds.  Flowering in late winter (not this year!) the blooms are pale green usually with a purple edge.  Here they are ready to pop!

Galanthus elwesii (Snowdrop or Giant snowdrop) Out on my daily garden walks I found a few snowdrop flower buds swelling ready to open in the Garden Hall Courtyard.  I can’t resist them – even if there are only 2!  These are early days, even for early-spring & late-winter flowering bulbs.  Here they don’t even have any snow to push through.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose hellebore) Found in the Demonstration Garden, the flowers of some hellebores here are beginning to open fully – who can resist them.  There are some signs of browning on the petals from the freeze-thaw temperatures, but these plants are very hardy and seem to have weathered well.

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