Well, I couldn’t really avoid it!
As anyone who follows my blog regularly will know, I have a passion for scent in the garden, especially scented shrubs and climbers. A scented shrub border was the first border we planted when we first moved here, over 20 years ago. It has been much modified since then and my shopping list shows no sign of diminishing. They are now spilling over into other planting areas in the garden – wherever is available!
The aim is to have scented shrubs in flower all through the year – a continuous feast for the nasal senses!
The winter months can be rich in scented shrubs, so many have obviously found their way into the border. That makes February a good month for me to start.
I think the most delightful one at the moment is Chimomanthus praecox, pictured at the top of the post. This year, after an enforced bit of pruning resulting in a poor display last year, it has come out this winter with its best display yet. Sheer heaven, it was today, trying to photograph it. Looking up into those tiny yellow bells, with their purple “stained glass” centres, dotted against a brilliant, clear blue sky, was breathtaking, but difficult to capture. A gentle breath of wind insisted in moving the stems just at the point of focussing, leading to several blurred images. But the compensation was the gorgeous, spicy perfume wafting down. I’ve never noticed it so strong before. Often, I had to bury my nose in the blooms to appreciate it.
Now, giving this a run for its money are the Sarcococcas or Christmas Box.
We have several different species in the garden. I just love them! Their delicious honey scent is so strong that it follows you round the garden, often catching you unawares. After all, the flowers are rather inconspicuous buried in the shiny, evergreen leaves. I think S. digyna has the prettiest flowers with their pink stalks. They are so easy to grow, and, being small and managable, they are easily slotted into any available space. We have two others – Sarcococca orientalis and Sarcococca ruscifolia – but, as they were only planted last year, they have yet to flower significantly.
We also have a couple of winter flowering honeysuckles.
The flowers have seemed a bit sparse this year but their delicate perfume – like lemonade! – may be my favourite (well, one of them!)
This one resides in our front garden hedge, so unfortunately, can get a bit overlooked. Shame, as its flowers have a lovely pink tinge.
Our Mahonia japonica is still going strong.
I thought these were the last of the blooms, but then I took a second look ….
….looks like it’s having a second wind, with what looks much like fresh new sprays just starting to open. And more lily-of-the-valley perfume!
Meanwhile, still going strong in the front garden, is the Coronilla citrina, which has featured in several of my vases since the end of last year.
It’s such a beauty, with its sweetly scented, lemon pea flowers and its pretty glaucous foliage.
Am I allowed to include my latest purchase, even though it’s still in its pot? Well, it’s in the garden and giving me pleasure! So, I think, yes!
I’m determined to have a Hamamelis in the garden. What self respecting scented winter garden could be without one? This one I bought just last week, and it will survive! It has a really strong, heady scent with lemon, starry flowers.
But it’s not all about shrubs. This is the Snowdrop season – the time for all Galanthophiles, and so here is my scented offering of Galanthus “S. Arnott”….
….both outdoors and in!
What perfumed delights do you have in your garden this month?