Plant Of The Week

Plant of the week

Each week I shall be looking at a different plant, it maybe a tree, it maybe a shrub, it might be a bulb or an annual, heck, it may even be a vegetable!

W/C 22nd Feb 2016

Osmanthus x burkwoodii

Family: Oleaceae

I’ve chosen this week’s plant, as I noticed one flowering in a sheltered spot at work, and I think they are brilliant!

They are an evergreen shrub, which can get to around 7 – 8 feet or more, although around 6’ makes a nice shrub, they can also be cut as a hedge, which I’ve seen done at previous work places, and honestly, it’s not that good.

Despite the waxy, often dark Green leaf, the real attraction is the White, scented, tubular flowers which appear around early to mid Spring, depending on location and if pruning has been carried out correctly, i.e. early Summer you are often rewarded with a beautiful showing.

As I said, they like a reasonably sheltered spot, but are pretty hardy, previously I have seen them grown in car parks! They will tolerate a wide range of aspects, but do best with partial shade, in full sun, they tend to look a bit “washed out”

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W/C 15th Feb 2016

Fatsia japonica

Common Name: Caster Oil Plant

Family: Araliaceae

There was several shrubs I was going to write about this week, but these are looking good at the moment, so they kind of won.

Fatsia are a hardy, evergreen shrub, that can get rather large, up to 4 meters in-fact, although I’ve found they shoot well from the base so when they end up getting a bit leggy you can “hack” them back down again. They have the most beautiful glossy green leaves, and interesting White flowers in the Autumn, followed by glossy Black fruits, the pictures taken last week show these fruits forming nicely.

I’ve found they grow best in semi shade, but can be OK in full sun, either way they need to be sheltered as the leaves quite quickly get damaged from wind. In full shade they tend to get rather leggy and look pretty awful, fairly quickly. They like a moist, but well drained soil.

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W/C 8th Feb 2016

Helleborus argutifolius

Common Name: Holly leaved hellebore

Family: Ranunculaceae

I love Hellebores, such a welcome sight in the Spring, and these days with a massive variety of colours, sizes and petal arrangements, it rally is a wonderful plant.

This variety, argutifolius was looking particularly striking in a sheltered, North facing bed this week at work. Its an evergreen, with beautiful glossy leaves, which have looked quite good even in the peak of summer. You can, I’ve found get some quite unsightly scorching on the thicker leaf varieties, but this seemed to miss it.

They like partial shade as a rule and will grow up to about 3 feet in height, they dont take a great deal of looking after once established, just maybe a good mulch in the autumn.

Propagation is by sowing fresh, ripe seeds, in a frame in the Autumn.

And as in the picture, they do grow well alongside Euphorbia and just out of the shot is a Saracacocca, for the ultimate winter bed!

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W/C 1st Feb 2016
Sarcococca confusa

Common Name: Sweet box
Family: Buxaceae

A great, if not quite common, winter flowering, evergreen shrub, my experience is they are generally hardy in all but the coldest of winters but don’t like a cold wind too much.

They will grow to around 4 – 5 feet, fairly slowly, but have a nice, compact habit.

The scent is a beautiful, sweet smell, hence the common name, the flowers are followed by glossy black berries which can last for some time.

I’ve found often the seedlings grow with ease underneath the plant and is a great was of increasing stocks. Its also possible to take semi ripe hard wood cuttings in the late summer.
The picture was taken this morning at work, and it is safe to say it was looking and smelling wonderful!