Plant of the month: February

Ypsilandra thibetica. Ticks a lot of boxes!

I know this isn’t the most obscure of plants to be talking about in February but I love it. First of all it comes out in February when there is very little else in flower in the garden (alright there are loads of snowdrops and they are great to see but I don’t find them quite as exciting as some).

Secondly they are just gorgeous to look at. Delicate, detailed and lightly shaded. A flower like this has no business flaunting itself at this time of year, but it does.

And nothing eats it! It looks just ripe to be lunch for something – OK maybe not the slugs and snails at this time of year, but not even pigeons, pheasants or any of those indiscriminate gobblers that spend so much time hanging around in our garden.

Generally it seems pretty bombproof. Once all the plants around it get into gear, frankly we just forget about it, as it becomes lost and neglected under a mass of other leaves. I’m thinking that’s why I’ve never propagated it – division is the way to do it, but first I have to remember it’s there.

We grow it on a raised bank, which suits the plant, because it likes to be moist but well drained, plus it suits us because at that time of year we don’t care to get down to the ground level to admire it. I believe it’s scented too, but I’ve never got close enough to confirm that.

If it were only a little bigger, I’d say it’s a candidate for the perfect early spring plant.

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