Good Gardening with Mark Curtis: December 2018

01/12/18 News
In the UK there are about 27 million of us gardeners, so that is a great many gardening feet to ornament with Christmas socks- but if you want a more practical present, then the Cosy Wellington Sock will be a good preventative for those Mistle Toes.
Scented gifts are a sure success, be it after shave or a scented candle, but the gorgeous Jasmine definitely tops the scent table. Deriving its name from the Persian, ‘Yasmin’, this twining climber is easy to look after. Its delicate foliage will be covered with a mass of star like, deeply scented flowers from late winter through to spring. 
Stephanotis, with its waxy tubular white flowers, is also fragrant. Originating from Madagascar, it likes warm humid conditions during the summer. Popular for bridal wreaths and also on the menu for Australian opossums! The Gardenia plant, with its lovely jasmine scent and attractive deep green foliage, originated in China. Named after a Scottish physician from Aberdeen, Dr. Alexander Garden, who in 1762 grew the plant in his garden in Charleston, America. Although a houseplant, it can happily live outdoors in the summer months.
If you want a more exotic, tropical beauty then Heliconia curacao will have you in a grass skirt dancing round the Christmas tree. Known as the ‘False Bird of Paradise' due to their resemblance to Strelitzia, they want a good humid warmth above 14ºC, so keep that oven door open after cooking the turkey! The exotic foliage and bright orange flowers will be sure to brighten up even the coldest winter evenings. 
Mark Curtis
Plant Manager, Tates of Sussex

For more gardening tips for the month, please visit