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Dianella TAS RED, Cyclamen hederifolium & Helleborus argutifolius

Dianella TAS RED, Cyclamen hederifolium & Helleborus argutifolius

This can be rather a dead time of year. Luckily the winter for 2011-2012 hasn’t been one with snow – neither the month of it at the end of 2010 – nor the 3 months of it over 2009/2010.

In fact I have been able to carry on working. At least so far. Fingers-crossed – as I have a few things that need doing in January in preparation for the coming growing season!

I enclose a few pics of what can be looking good at this time of year, just to remind us all that there are things we can grow that work – even at this time.

The last few winters have seen a few plants we took for granted badly hammered by the forst, snow and long freezes. However, the above plants ( pictured) were unscathed. Dianella TAS RED is a Tasmanian distant relative to Phormium - big evergreen foliage plants that have become a mainstay in many recent gardens. However, whilst the phormiums have been badly damaged – and often died altogether  in recent years – this dianella has been untouched.  I will qualify this by saying that this particular dianella has been fine. Many others have not. Further advantages include the fact that Dianella TAS RED likes dry shade, and that it spreads in restrained manner. Plus it is a much more manageable size, and does well in containers.

The hardy, autumn-flowering Cyclamen hederifolium has wonderful foliage all through the winter, flowers in pink or white in late summer/autumn, and after giving a wionderful display of marbled foliage all winter-long disappears for the summer. Underneath deciduous shrubs and trees is where it likes to grow, no matter how dry.

The hellebore,- Helleborus argutifolius  – also does well in deciduous shade. The leaves are toothed and evergreen, and the flowers greenish, being produced in spring..

Again a shade and drought-lover. All of them excellent for shady, dry town gardens.

Arum, Iris foetidissima et al
Arum italicum PICTUM & Iris foetidissima foliage & fruits

In addition can be seen the evergreen leaves of Iris foetidissima with fruits and the wintergreen leaves of Arum italicum PICTUM. Both grow well in dry shade, but whilst the iris is year-round, the arum disappears in late spring until late autumn

All are worthy garden subjects. Add some bulbs such as snowdrops to all or any of these, and you have beautiful plant associations that last for much of the year.
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