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The flowers, tiny, fragrant and narcissi-like, on a stem. The foliage is like holly.

Otherwise known as the Oregon Grape and a member of the Barberry family, this evergreen shrub appears to do well in any situation, in full sun with dry soil or in shade with moist soil.

In the photo above, Mahonia is planted in a woodland situation in semi-shade. After a hard pruning, lovely new growth has sprung back. If no attention is paid to this shrub it will grow to be a monster!

Plant Mahonia near an open window or front door, its intoxicating scent will waft through the air as you sit or walk by, and winter bumble bees will pay interest in it too.


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There has been a noticeable amount of frost damage this winter. Not only has this favourite pot of mine pictured above, with its piecrust rim, succumbed to the changeable weather conditions, but also many other terracotta pots around the garden.

Not being one for covering up with fleece or bubble wrap, mesembryanthemum and lavender plants, usually fairly hardy in this part of the UK, have not made it through the winter. In hindsight, I should have placed out of harm's way along a sheltered wall. A plant cannot possibly survive with constant freezing and thawing, and having to sit in cold, wet compost!

Tell me which plants have you lost this winter, in your part of the world?


William Nicholson 1920 © Tate 2004


In 1920 William Nicholson was commissioned to paint a portrait of the gardener Gertrude Jekyll. She didn’t relish the prospect, and only agreed after a good show of resistance as 'I think ugly people had better not be painted’. While he waited for Jekyll, Nicholson occupied himself making this study of her gardening boots. He perhaps had in mind Van Gogh’s paintings of boots and other personal objects which stand in for a person. In many ways it sums up her character better than the final portrait. Jekyll’s boots are now in Godalming Museum, along with other Jekyll memorabilia.

What kind of footwear do you wear when gardening? I must confess I am an old trainers kind of person!

Please place your vote in this month's poll on the sidebar.

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... white

... bright

... delight!