Shrubs of the Month – January

JANUARY
This selection of shrubs is chosen specifically for the poor, thin, acid soils common on the upper parts of the Howth Penninsula. The two we have selected below are at their best this month.

Daphne bholua “Jacqueline postill” Photograph courtesy of Karl Flynn

Daphne bholua “Jacqueline postill”
Originating in the eastern Himalayas, Daphne bholua forms an upright growing evergreen shrub with leathery mid-green oval leaves. ‘Jaqueline Postill’ produces intensely fragrant flowers which are pink on the outside and white within. It will thrive on any fertile free draining soils provided they are not too dry. It makes an ideal shrub for the small garden because it is quite slow growing and flowers during the late winter when most other plants are dormant. Daphnes hate transplanting and should only be pruned when absolutely necessary.

 

Garrya elliptica Photograph courtesy of Karl Flynn

Garrya elliptica

Male forms of Garrya elliptica are impressive plants when laden with their long elegant tassels in winter and early spring. Female plants have much smaller catkins and clusters of round deep purple fruits in summer. ‘James Roof’ is the most popular variety because its tassels are much longer than the species, 20-30cm (10in)ong and lasting for many weeks, making a striking backdrop to other smaller plants. The shrubs are nominally hardy, although without the shelter of a warm wall some foliage might suffer wind scorch, and are unaffected by salt winds and city air. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

 

 

Shrubs of the Month – December

DECEMBER
This selection of shrubs is chosen specifically for the poor, thin, acid soils common on the upper parts of the Howth Penninsula. The two we have selected below are at their best this month.

Ilex “Golden King”
Image courtesy of Karl Flynn

Ilex “Golden King”

Glossy leaves with grey-green mottled centres and bright, golden-yellow margins. Despite its confusing name this compact, evergreen shrub is a ‘female’ variety of holly producing reddish-brown autumn berries that ripen to red. One of the best golden variegated hollies, it’s a great specimen plant for a sunny shrub or mixed border. Supplied in a 2-3 litre conatiner at a height of 40-60cms.

 

 

Hammemellis mollis ‘pallida’
Image courtesy of Karl Flynn

Hammemellis mollis ‘pallida’

This hamamelis produces large, sulphur-yellow blooms with a delicate, sweet scent. They seem to glow in winter light.

Shrubs of the Month – November

NOVEMBER
This selection of shrubs is chosen specifically for the poor, thin, acid soils common on the upper parts of the Howth Penninsula. The two we have selected below are at their best this month.

Prunus subhirtella “Autumnalis”
Image courtesy of Karl Flynn

Prunus subhirtella “Autumnalis”

A broad, spreading, deciduous tree, Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ is capable of reaching a height of 8m (26ft) at maturity, but usually attains rather less. The leaves are 7cm (2¾in) long, oval and sharply toothed. The flowers are pink in bud, semi-double, 1cm (½in) across, pendulous, held in small clusters and white when fully opened, although they acquire pink tones as they fade.  Unlike spring-flowering cherries, ‘Autumnalis’ flowers in flushes between November and March or even April, only being temporarily halted by cold weather. This tree is frequently to be found in lists of plants flowering in public gardens on New Year’s Day. The flowers are not profusely carried but, nevertheless, look good against a blue sky, and gladden the heart when there is so little else of colour in the garden.

The autumn leaf colour is also rather better than in many other ornamental cherries. And these trees are also extremely hardy. For example, they grow well along the burn at Kailzie Gardens, near Peebles in the Scottish Borders, which is 210m (700ft) above sea level and experiences comparatively harsh winters.

Jasminum nudiflorum. Image courtesy of Karl Flynn

Jasminum nudiflorum

A popular and reliable shrub, introduced from China in 1844, and widely grown as a wall shrub. It can be allowed to scramble freely over a low wall or up a bank, or trained up a vertical framework. Unlike many other jasmines, winter jasmine does not twine, so will need tying-in if grown vertically. The stems are bright green and give an evergreen impression, even in winter when the tiny bright yellow blooms appear, weatherproof in all but the coldest snaps. Regular pruning keeps bushes under control and prevents bare patches from appearing. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM).