An unusual evergreen shrub which produces, in late winter around this time, long tassels hence is common name silk tassel bush. It's a relatively trouble free shrub to grow although it may not be fully hardy in all areas and is best in a sheltered spot. For more about growing Garrya elliptica follow the link . It can look magnificent as a specimen shrub in a mixed border.
Whilst I am thinking of sowing sweet peas the weather isn't. It's so easy to be seduced into sowing seeds early, too early and I have to stop myself. There is a deluge of seed catalogues and all the magazines are urging gardeners to get started but I feel its a mistake to start sowing early, unless you have plenty of frost free space in which the can grow on, and time to keep checking frost protection. If time or space is short it's best to wait until later in the year when the time you have to nurture the plant in a frost free environment is not so long. It's still very cold out there and if you fancy are really good garden read pick up Jenny Uglow A Little History of British Gardening which is terrific read about garden history and just ideal for these cold wintry weekends when the ground is frozen and uninviting.