The Christmas rose, helleborus niger, is so called because in the northern hemisphere where it originated it blooms over Christmas.
Nanjing Night Net

Comfrey is great for the compost heap.

It is not a rose but its white flowers resemble a single rose.

DELICATE: The helleborus niger is not a rose but its white flowers resemble a single rose.

It grows best in a shaded place where the soil is deep and contains much humus and moisture.

Plant it where you might grow ferns and protect it from strong winter winds.

The best time to plant a Christmas rose is in autumn. A common mistake is to plant it too late in spring.

Unless planted well before this, it will not build up enough reserve energy to enable it to bloom the following winter.

Christmas roses must not be planted too deep and special care must be taken that the roots are not damaged.

Plant them so that the crown is no more than two or three centimetres below the soil surface.

A plant will last for many decades so the soil must be well prepared with humus. Leaf mould and peat moss can be dug in too. Only very old and well-rotted manure should be used.

The soil should be about neutral rather than acid.

Christmas roses here can bloom any time from May to August, depending on weather conditions.

Comfrey

Comfrey is a very tenacious plant. Once you have it in your garden you will have much trouble in getting rid of it.

It is rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and trace minerals and in vitamins A and C.

Comfrey has long been used medicinally for all sorts of ailments, both internally and externally.

But medical experts now believe that excessive internal use can cause irreversible liver damage and say it should be taken very sparingly, or better still not at all.

But there’s one good thing about comfrey. It’s great for the compost heap.

Conifers

Conifers, as we all know, come in all shapes, sizes and many colours.

The most familiar ones range from shrubs to gigantic trees.

Not so well known is the fact that there are many which are low growing ground covers, and these can give you year-round colour.

Most ornamental conifers belong to two families, juniper and cypress.

You’ll be bewildered by the botanical names on conifer plants in garden centres.

If you’re looking for ground covers watch out for junipers with the names horizontalis, depressa or prostrata.

Juniperus communis depressa aurea is a good example.

It spreads outward with curved branches drooping at the tip. It changes colour charmingly throughout the season. It starts with bright gold in spring, fades to green and gold for summer and then takes on beautiful silver purplish hues, flecked with bronze, for winter. It will thrive in poor soil.

For a fast grower try juniperus horizontalis douglasii. It is steel blue in summer, purple in winter and has stiffish, spreading branches.

Even more attractive is juniperus horizontalis glauca, which grows closer to the ground and has blue berries. It is blue-green.

All of these plants are not fussy about soil or even about rainfall.

Jobs to do

Many areas can expect frost from now on. Any pumpkins that are still outdoors should be brought in and stored in a dry place.

Remember not to lift them by their stems and don’t let them touch each other on the shelf.

Perennials such as delphiniums and foxgloves should have their dead stalks cut off and removed. Fork in some dolomite around them and bed them down for winter with a mulch of hay.

You can also dig up perennials now and divide them, unless you are in a very cold area, in which case leave them until spring.

Kitchen herbs can be divided or planted out. Thyme, sage and marjoram can be split up. So can chives.

Conifers come in all shapes and sizes.

Bring in pumpkins and store.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.