What To See In January

Iris Unguicularis

Iris unguicularis (Photo credit: Peter Cunnington)

Not surprisingly, evergreens provide the ‘backbone’ planting in most gardens at this rather bleak time of year.Cafe Courtyard

Tubs of variegated Griselinia littoralis from New Zealand greet the visitor at the entrance, whilst on the surrounding walls grows that great Victorian favourite, laurel, in this instance Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ with its speckled foliage.

Stable Yard

Here are young Box, Buxus sempervirens, much loved of topiarists and some small-leafed Euonymus, Euonymus radicans in both yellow and white variegations.

Walled Garden

Walk into the garden past the Visitor Centre and experience the warmth that shelter from wind and reflected heat from the sun may bring.

Hamamelis mollis pallida

Glasshouse – Many of the so called hot house plants, will continue to grow so long as light and temperature reach the required levels.

Vegetable – Brassicas such as, Cabbages, Sprouts and Broccoli, and Leeks, make up the bulk of winter vegetables but, inevitably, the vegetable garden looks a little sad at this time of year. Soon compost from our own bins will be spread to replace the nutrients used by last year’s crops and the cycle will begin again with the sowing of Broad Beans towards the month’s end.

Flower garden – In the long border behind the glasshouse the large oval leaves of Bergenias show their variations as some remain green whilst other take on a more attractive, reddish hue. A single plant of a variegated Sedge, Carex morrowii ‘Variegata’ adds further interest together with the white-veined Arum italicum ‘Pictum’. There are several evergreen ferns in the Fernery.

Viburnum x bodnantense

Leave the Garden by the Arched Gateway

Cross the drive into the Sunken Garden where in the centre, surrounded by a low Box hedge is a tall Yew, Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’ and across the far side a row of trimmed Box stand in front of a tall hedge of Holly and Yew. Hedges abound and as you cross in front of the Manor you will see clipped Yew framing flower beds, sadly no longer planted as they would have been in bygone times. Low down in front of the wall is Iris unguicularis with its violet, short-lived blooms and if you turn right beneath the impressive foliage of the evergreen Magnolia grandiflora then right again past Behrend House you will see the flowering spectacle that is Hamamelis mollis ‘Pallida’ in full and glorious flower. Walk towards the Manor entrance past more laurel, with a silvery variegation in this instance, and the grey- leaved daisy bush, Brachyglotti and up the steps into the North Garden.

The North Garden

Pink Viburnum x bodnantense against the wall of Newton House is still in full flower and the tubs contain yet more evergreens, Box again but this time with rusty colouration in their leaves.