Nurseryman's favourites - February

Chris Marchant of Orchard Dene Plants picks Chaenomeles speciosa 'Yukigotan' as one of her February plant highlights PLUS places to visit to see plants at their seasonal best

Chaenomeles speciosa 'Yukigotan' c. Jason Ingram

Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Yukigotan’
The ornamental ‘quinces’ are some of the most beautiful of early flowering shrubs, either free-standing or trained against a sheltered wall. Saucer-shaped semi-double flowers are held in dense clusters, outlasting the single forms. A curious limey green shade in bud and when freshly unfurled, they mature to a pure white, the snowy starkness of the flowers offset by golden stamens. The effect is dramatic when shown against a dark woodland-mulched soil. Prune back last year’s growth after flowering in late spring to maintain shape.

HEIGHT/SPREAD 1.5m x 2m.
ORIGINS Japanese cultivar.
CONDITIONS Most fertile, well-drained soils, including clay.
SEASON Flowers in February, fruit in June-July.

The other eight plants chosen by Chris this month are:

Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’
Corylopsis pauciflora
Narcissus ‘Jack Snipe’
Hepatica transsilvanica
Helleborus x hybridus ‘Yellow Lady’
Ribes laurifolium ‘Rosemoor’
Stachyurus praecox
Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Alba’

You can find out more about these plants in the February issue of the magazine - issue 182

Chris suggests places to visit to see plants at their seasonal best

February offers the perfect opportunity to see some of this country’s magnificent parkland plantings at their naked best. Devoid of leaves, the real sculptural beauty of established trees is heightened; undulating contours of the landscape are more evident – even more so with a sharp hoar frost or dusting of snow.

One such favourite is Blenheim Estate, surrounding the superb baroque architecture of Blenheim Palace. Currently home to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, this was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill whose father Lord Randolph Churchill described the Vanbrugh Bridge and imposing rides up to the Column of Victory as ‘the finest view in England’. It would be a brave man who argued against such claims and continuing investment ensures standards are not slipping. Water Terraces, Rose Gardens and Formal Garden all re-open mid February after winter closure. See website for details of opening times and special events.
Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1PP.
Tel 01993 810 530,

For a totally different winter scene, Valley Gardens in Windsor Great Park, laid out by Eric Savill, demonstrates in confident fashion the colour and textural range of ericaceous (calcifuge)  woodland landscape on a grand scale. There are plenty of trails and pathways to explore through the 250 acres. Entrance is free throughout the year (with a
charge for parking) and there’s a good shop and restaurant to complete the day.
Englefield Green, Egham TW20 0VU.
Tel 01753 860222,

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