As winter draws in and Christmas beckons, indoor plants, floral and foliage decorations assume greater significance. David Coton suggests how you can transform your home with the colourful interest of seasonal plants.
Call it whatever you wish, Robert Hall says that the Miniature Fuji Cherry or Prunus incisa Kojo no-mai, is a superb flowering miniature cherry tree.
A beautiful hardy shrub that has everything going for it, except one thing. Nobody has ever heard of it
Consulting an advertising agency could do wonders for its image, raising consumer awareness and increasing demand. But I don't think we'll bother. One of the great appeals of gardening is discovery, so we'll keep this one a secret
Descended from the mountainous Fuji Cherry of Japan, this miniature form has it all, and more
Shrunk to just 12ins makes it the ideal size to go into the garden centres, but in your care, it will eventually reach 4-5ft tall and 3ft wide. You will normally find the Kojo Cherry on sale early in the year, probably from mid-February onwards because it flowers so early. Depending on the weather, and where you live in the UK you can expect to see early flowers from mid-March onwards. By the end of April, the show will be over but don't let that put you off buying one after Spring.
The plant you buy in late spring through to autumn will have a chance to get properly established in your garden before winter sets in, and it will have put on a little extra growth which means you will have a larger plant in your garden than if you wait for the following spring selection. And you will probably pay more next season into the bargain.
It's newly found zig-zag shaped branches not only give it a striking winter shape but make it a very busy looking plant, that actually goes nowhere quickly.
It is ideal as a specimen for a pot, or even to plant up and bonsai.
Frozen with a glistening haw frost, its cracked icy fingers make a spectacular sight on a cold clear winter's morning.
The early spring thaw that creeps on, as we move nearer to Spring, heralds a new dawn in the year of the Kojo.
Wreaths of small pink buds swell over the naked twiggy branches opening to delicate snow-white pocket handkerchief blooms. The flowers are quite simple and you can not say they are large but as with floribunda roses, there are plenty of them to put on a great show. As the flowers appear on the branches before any foliage they are the star attraction, and not hidden behind any other distraction. The cherry blossom is the icing on the cake, make no mistake, but there is more to come.
Quote: "The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It's a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short." Homaro Cantu - American Inventor
Fresh foliage unfurls over the frame to finally clothe the shrub in spring green. Slowly deepening in colour during the heat of summer as the temperature's rise.
This finally draws an autumnal flush of reds and gold to the leaves before the cold winds and rain strip the Kojo naked.
The cycle starts again, but it's always better the next time around.
David Coton suggests that there are plenty of gardening jobs that need to be done in November, from why you shouldn't throw away your fallen leaves to how to take care of your vegetable patch.
Chickens aren't difficult to look after, all they require is a constant supply of water and regular food. As Martyn Loach explains, you should keep an eye open for any ailments, and they'll need to be cleaned out once a week.
Timber garden decking never seems to lose its popularity, and why should it, when it's such a useful way of extending your living and entertaining space. Andy Taylor explains why decking is so easy to install and how best to look after it.