Archive | February 25, 2012

Chinese Lanterns – Just one reason why I don’t cut back everything in winter

I like to leave many plants standing through winter. For some plants, the seeds attract and feed the birds and small rodents, for some plants leaving last year’s growth on can help protect next year’s crown of new leaves.

In mid-winter, I really like the spears of stalks rising to the sky, often with frost or snow making gorgeous spires, the various shapes adding interest to the garden. I feel a garden that has been over-tidied is a sadder place in the winter for missing all of this.

A great example of this is the Chinese Lanterns, physalis alkekengi, well known for the orange papery lanterns during the autumn, but don’t cut them all off, leave them in place and you’ll see the lanterns turn into a wiry skeleton surrounding the fruit, that you can still handle.

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I’ve only got one plant, so have just planted some of the seeds, let’s hope I can plant and have a few of these unusual plants around the garden next year.

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