I found a surprising number of plants worth recording. It has always been my habit to ensure winter interest in the garden, after all, my kitchen window looks out over the main part and I like to linger there, idly surveying the bird feeders which are alive with small birds coming for their allocation of seeds, nuts, fat and kitchen scraps. There is a constant traffic between the feeding stations and the surrounding trees and hedges with frequent stop-overs at the seed heads of herbaceous plants left standing for just this purpose. Fragrance is also important to me and there are several winter flowering fragrant shrubs planted close to the back door and the path which I use most often to get to the back gate.
Phormium with their stiff strap leaves
the bronze grasses
and the prostrate euphorbias all give shelter to insects
in their convoluted and enclosed hearts,
providing feeding grounds for birds all winter.
The Silk Tassel Bush (Garrya elliptica)
is a large shrub providing primarily winter interest with its gorgeous,
genuinely grey tassels and grey-green leaves which are glossy green
above and woolly grey below.
The shrub is evergreen and will provide shelter for birds in all weathers.
Garrya will grow anywhere, in sun or shade and poor, sandy or chalky soil.
It does not like cold winter winds and would prefer to be grown in some wind shelter.
Choysia Ternata is lovely at any time of year.
Crush the leaves and their beautiful fragrance will reach out to you.
Choysia is evergreen and when grown in a sheltered spot will blaze at you
all winter, particularly so when caressed by sunlight.
came out too; all his walks recently have been muddy ones;
He enjoyed a stroll about the garden which didn't end
in him being rubbed down before he was allowed back
into the house.
and finally, the King of the winter garden, the holly bush.
Although I grow several varieties, the variegated and golden leaved ones among them,
at this time of year I make for the dark-green, spiny-leaved, red-berried ones.
Making sure that I leave enough of the berries for our winter visitors,
the fieldfares and redstarts, as well as our all-year resident, the blackbird,
I cut the straightest twigs for the house;
a Christmas house without holly in vases and small, home-made
decorative arrangements is unthinkable, as is
a front door without its holly wreath to welcome visitors.