Gardening with James Vaughan: Great gardening weather

James Vaughan


James Vaughan


Gardening with James Vaughan:  Great gardening weather

Viburnum tinus

The weather has been really great for gardening this past week. Rain has been limited and temperatures have been very mild. However, January is statistically the coldest month of the year. I have been busy in the garden since being on annual leave before Christmas. It is great to be able to get around the garden because you can see what looks good and see where improvements can be made. One plant we planted last year was Witch Hazel.
We only planted one last year and it has rewarded us flowers. Witch Hazel Shrub is a beautiful addition to any garden. When other plants are preparing for their winter sleep, common witch hazel awakens in a burst of gold foliage and yellow, orange, and red flowers. These flowers have a spidery appearance. The leaves are oval and around 4 inches in length. The eastern variant of witch hazel most often blooms near the end of winter around mid-January. Witch hazel shrubs, or witch hazels, grow in North America, Japan, and China. Growing most often as a shrub or sometimes as a small tree, witch hazels usually reach 10 to 25 feet tall. In rare cases, a witch hazel tree may reach 40 feet in height. Most varieties bloom from January to March while the H. Virginiana variety blooms from September to November. Witch hazel flowers range in color from yellow to orange and red. The flowers to this shrub really are nice but the plant is a bit on the expensive side. Other plants that flower at this time of year- and are not as expensive are listed below.

Viburnum tinus
This evergreen plant looks its best this time of year. It is recognisable by its masses of tiny snow-white flowers. On a sunny day you might just get a slight, pleasant scent from these flowers. This shrub does best when positioned in Sun. However, it will survive in most aspects. The leaves are a dark green, which are attractive by themselves. The shrub needs very little care- just trim it once a year to keep a tight shape. Viburnum tinus in itself is a great shrub. There is also available a better performing hybrid. The hybrid goes by the name of: Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’. This plant is the same as the ordinary version- but better. There are more flowers on ‘Eve Price’ and the shrub has an overall ‘tidier’ shape.

Viburnums bodnantense
This Viburnum is a deciduous type. It flowers on naked stems early in the year. This plant is almost exclusively grown for the scent of the flowers. There is surely no greater gardening joy than smelling the magnificent, heady, scent of this shrub on a calm Spring morning. The flowers themselves are pink in colour. A nice practice- if you have a large shrub- is to snip a piece off and place in a glass of water indoors.
As an end of year reflection, don’t ever forget that gardening is a perpetual task. Use this to your advantage. If something didn’t turn out as expected this year you can change it for next year. I would like to wish all my readers a happy and prosperous New Year.

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