Posts Tagged ‘winter-flowering shrubs’

Sarcococca humilis

March 9, 2010

I referred to winter-flowering Sarcococca humilis (Christmas box or sweet box) in my March newsletter. Not entirely sure that this is the preferred name these days, but it’s the one I continue to use. The one I bought – quite a few years now – was labelled ‘Purple Stem’, which apparently belongs to a form of S. hookeryana var. dignya. Who knows?

Sarcococca humilis has glossy green leaves that stay on the plant year round

It’s a nice-looking thing, with its glossy evergreen leaves, but it does not do well for me, failing to make good growth though reasonably generous with its sickly-sweet (but tiny) white flowers. From a trawl of the internet, any problem appears to be solely mine, as other gardeners manage to have it thriving.

It may be the heaviness of my soil that gives it grief – it’s reputedly tolerant of lime and shade (both of which it has in my garden). Books I have consulted are a little vague on the matter – perhaps someone can enlighten me?

Solanum jasminoides ‘Album’

November 15, 2009

It’s quite normal to see shrubs pushing out a few flowers at this time of year – and I’ve noticed on my travels that two reliable winter flowerers are well into their stride. The ones in question being Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ and Mahonia media ‘Charity’.

Nothing so unusual there, but I was immensely gratified to come across a specimen of Solanum jasminoides ‘Album’ that was still generously covered with its beautiful white potato flowers. Gratified, because I often recommend this as a suitable subject for training – loosely – against a warm wall, one of its chief merits being (apart from its beauty) the length of its flowering season.

Solanum jasminoides Album

The white flowers of Solanum jasminoides 'Album' are produced over a long period

It starts around July – possibly earlier – and then continues without apparently drawing breath until, well, now. And apparently with every intention of continuing.

The plant I saw was actually hanging over a fence, so I suspect it may not be so tender as the books say it is. A hard frost might cut it back, but it would probably recover. A must-have plant.