Full Circle – Almost!

Cotinus "Grace"

Cotinus “Grace”

We’ve now had our first frost, so that’s it! I know summer has been hanging on for as long she could, but we can’t deny any longer that autumn is well and truly here and heading towards winter. Please don’t think of me as a merchant of doom! On the contrary, autumn and winter are just as beautiful, with magnificent fiery leaf displays and frosted skeletons. So much to enjoy! But I do miss being able to spend as much time outdoors.

This realisation was re-enforced on my recent walk around the “Estate”, while idling along the scented shrub border. After the flowers of summer and leaves of autumn, this border starts to take on greater importance again. Some of our winter flowering shrubs, are already starting to flower, although one of our summer shrubs is still bravely soldiering on.

Zenobia pulverulenta

Zenobia pulverulenta

I was amazed to notice quite of a few of its lily-of-the valley flowers still nestling among its glaucous leaves. Its aniseed scent was, sadly, not so obvious.

But the main shrub border is definitely showing a wintery trend.

Viburnum farreri

Viburnum farreri

Viburnum is a stalwart of the winter garden, especially where scent is an issue. V. farreri is a large, sprawling, deciduous shrub, lovely at this time of year, when it starts flowering, coinciding with the last of the reddish tinted leaves. The clusters of tiny, white flowers, like miniature “cottonwool balls”, sporadically appear over the shrub throughout winter. This one started in October. The flowers, although small, emit a sweet scent reminiscent of baby powder!

Viburnum x bodnantense "Dawn"

Viburnum x bodnantense “Dawn”

In the flowering hedge, in the front garden, we have another example, the well known Viburnum x bodnantense “Dawn”. It’s a very similar shrub, the flowers being more pink. Here, the blooms are somewhat lost in the mass of dense foliage, but the powdery scent definitely is not!

Skimmia japonica "Rubella"

Skimmia japonica “Rubella”

Back in the Scented Shrub border, Skimmia japonica “Rubella” is revving into gear, providing colour with its ruby-red flower buds. It’s not, as yet, treating us to any of its sweet perfume – that, it’s saving up for spring. This small, evergreen shrub, another winter favourite, courtesy of its flower buds, needs little introduction. I’d go so far as to say it’s the buds rather than the scented flowers, that makes this such a favourite for winter, being widely used as a component in winter pots.

Moving on, and this is where we almost come full circle.

Mahonia japonica

Mahonia japonica

The Mahonia japonica’s sprays of flowers, are just starting to open. And it’s beautiful, tiny daffodil blooms, perfumed like lily-of-the-valley, was the first subject I wrote about, way back at the start of the year!

And keeping it company….

Coronilla glauca "Citrina"

Coronilla glauca “Citrina”

….our Coronilla has started flowering again, having only stopped blooming in early summer. How’s that for longevity!

But despite the promises of winter scent, let’s carry on enjoying autumn, with the burnt orange tones of Cotinus, glowing in the sun, at the start of the post, to another “Stolen Pleasure” of pink forsythia leaves in combination with flowering ivy, at the end.


12 thoughts on “Full Circle – Almost!

  1. angiesgardendiaries

    I love the last image, it’s beautiful and really captures autumn.
    Odd to read that you’ve had your first frost and the Mahonia just coming into flower. Mine’s has been flowering for weeks now and as yet no frost up here. I’d have expected it to be the other way around.
    Lovely images and as usual a super walk around the estate.

    1. thelonggardenpath Post author

      It wasn’t a particularly hard frost, but it did involve some scraping of windscreens! The cold snap has descended all of a sudden. I have seen Mahonias flowering on other posts – maybe mine’s a late starter! I do love the pink tones of the forsythia – so unexpected!

  2. hoehoegrow

    Oh no! Summer is definitely over, but we can’t complain!
    You still seem to have a lot of stalwarts soldiering on in the garden – I love all the Viburnums especially ‘Dawn’, and feel they are the backbone of the garden. There is always something to give us pleasure, whatever the season and weather. We haven’t had frost here in Lincolnshire yet, but it is so cold I think we may have one tonight.

  3. thelonggardenpath Post author

    I agree! We have had a wonderful, long, rather extended, summer. But all good things, etc……! There is beauty in all seasons. Thank you for popping over for a look, and hope you liked what you saw!

  4. Chloris

    You have lovely Cotinus Grace. It is a beauty. Well so much in your garden looks like winter. And mine too. I have a Helleborus niger out. My Vibernum fragrans and Skimmia rubella are out. Mahonia ‘Charity’ has been out for a while. Mahonia Japonica flowers in early Spring here. But frost? Oh dear we haven’t had any so far, but I have noticed that the first frost is often around Bonfire Night.

  5. Julie

    Thats a lovely tour. I think we are due frost wednesday night, its just much chillier here so far. I agree Autumn and Winter can be really beautiful, its the early darkness that I am never keen on. I had not realised that Skimmia is scented, what does it smell of?

  6. Cathy

    Thank you for sharing your stroll – we are about the same as you with frosts, although the garden is sheltered and the front of the house faces east so on bright mornings any frosty windscreens are often quickly dealt with although not when you go out early to swim (me) or play golf (the Golfer)! I have noted your inclusion of fragranced shrubs in your border and although I have deliberately added ‘Dawn’ (oh, and another winter flowering honeysuckle) to my new shrub border I can see the benefit of including more fragranced shrubs. I had no idea skimmia is scented either

  7. thelonggardenpath Post author

    I think most people now know of my love of scented plants, and, in particular, scented shrubs. It’s over the winter months that they really show their worthiness, when most of the garden lies dormant and little else is in flower. A waft of perfume on a cold, sunny day is one of the garden’s great joys. The walk around the “Estate” is a pleasure, despite the weather. One of the things I love most about blogging is sharing information, such as the Skimmia. I have learned so much. 🙂

  8. wellywoman

    It’s been chilly here but still no frost. I love winter scent. I spotted the flower buds on my sarcococca yesterday and my Viburnum bodnantense is in flower already. Can’t wait to pick them for Christmas. Haven’t got any skimmias, will have to add them to my wish list. 🙂

  9. thelonggardenpath Post author

    I’ve also noticed the buds on our Sarcoccas. The promise of scent to come! I’m enjoying the flower buds of the Skimmia rubella, at the moment. Their ruby red adds a bit of colour to the border, as well as to vases. Very useful!


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