Dwarf Shrubs for Christmas Planting
The Christmas Box is a fine dwarf shrub that is ideal for planting in a smart tub on the patio. There, its fragrant, delicate blooms and shiny black berries can be appreciated to the full.
The Christmas Box is an elegant dwarf shrub with fine, glossy, pointed leaves and beautiful, fragrant Winter blooms. Its delicate whitehave conspicuous pink anthers and are followed by shiny black berries.
This shrub is ideal for displaying on the patio in a smart tub. Position it close to the house where the appearance and scent of the blooms can really be appreciated during the chilly Winter months. It is easy to grow, being tolerant of both sun and shade, and requires moist, but not soggy, compost all year round.
Plant the Sarcococca in a formal-looking tub if possible; the plant already has an oriental feel to it, and this will heighten the effect. A square, glazed tub, such as that shown, is ideal.
PLANTING THE TUB
Put a good handful of crocks into the bottom of the tub, taking care to cover theholes so that the compost does not leach out during watering. Pieces of broken tile or broken flower pot are ideal.
Use a free-draining, loam-based compost in the tub. If you have it, this plant will appreciate a handful of crushed chalk mixed into the potting medium. Fill the tub with about 10cm (4in) of compost.
Remove the Sarcococca carefully from its pot. If the roots of the plant have grown in circles following the shape of the pot, tease a few out straight, otherwise they may continue to grow in circles in the tub.
Stand the rootball in the tub. Check that the top of the rootball is just below the rim of the tub: adjust the compost underneath if necessary. Fill in the spaces around the plant, firming lightly with your fingers.
The compost can be covered with a layer of grit or gravel. This not only prevents the compost from drying out quickly, but it also looks smart and makes the display fit in well if it is to stand on a gravel surface.