Tag Archives: Abeliophyllum

Scented gems

Coronilla glauca "Citrina"

Coronilla glauca “Citrina”

A couple of my scented shrubs have been giving me great pleasure over the last month or so – definitely scented gems!

My Coronilla glauca “Citrina” seems to have been flowering for ages! It started slowly, at the start of the year, and is now smothered in beautiful, lemon, pea-shaped flowers. They emit a lovely, fruity scent, that some people liken to peaches. I can detect fruit, but more vanilla. The whole plant is a thing of beauty, with glaucous blue leaves, that I can only describe as being like Ruta graveolens, the herb Rue, but without the scent. It is reputed to be slightly tender and is recommended to be grown against a wall for protection. Mine is freestanding, in our front garden, which is south facing and so is in full sun, which combined with our sandy, free-draining soil, seems to suit it so far – touch wood! It has quite a lax habit (maybe wall training would be the thing to do!) and so far, has not seemed to need pruning. I’ve just left it to do its own thing! It apparently can also be grown in pots – ideal for winter protection.
I bought my specimen a couple of years ago at the Malvern spring show – possibly my favourite show! It had been picked out on the “Gardener’s World” coverage of the show the previous night, so I just had to find it. And I’m so glad I did!

Daphne laureola

Daphne laureola

Daphne laureola is doing really well now, since I extracated it from the overreaching branches of its neighbouring Lonicera fragrantissima, when that was cut back a year or so ago. By contrast, it seems quite an understated shrub. Similar to my other winter favourite, the Sarcococca, it is a low growing, evergreen shrub with small, insignificant looking flowers. What sets it apart though, like the Sarcoccoca, is its magnificent scent – sweet and vanilla. And the clusters of small flowers, which nestle under the whorls of shiny, green leaves, are such an unusual, lime green colour – a subtle gem!

Abeliophyllum distichum

Abeliophyllum distichum

I must also include my Abeliophyllum distichum, although its flowering was short lived. It is also known as the “White forsythia”. Definitely much more subtle than its namesake, it has a similar habit, but the flowers are so much more delicate – white, flushed with pink – and scented to boot! Like Forsythia, the flowers appear on bare stems, before the leaves appear. It is best, grown supported, against a wall. Mine is growing in a large pot, supported with canes, in a sunny position. And again, minimum maintenance!

And after walking “round the estate”, I can see so many more gems just waiting to burst forth! What an exciting time of year!

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The Cuttings Calender – February

Snowdrops in a dinky vase

Snowdrops in a dinky vase

I’m ashamed to say, that the contenders for February are a bit thin on the ground. I did keep it going, but there was a large element of repetition. I could blame a lack of cutting material, but it’s more likely to be my lack of imagination.

My other contenders?

Six of the best

Six of the best

“Six of the best” was interesting – a sort of botanical “exercise”! – but some elements of the composition did not last well. It comprised of a single sprig of six winter-flowering shrubs, in each of my milk bottles. Abeliophyllum distichum, Daphne laureola, Chimonanthus praecox, Coronilla “Citrina” and of course, Sarcococca and Lonicera fragrantissima. The smell was wonderful!

Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox

I loved the single sprig of Chimonanthus! I felt it was “understated chic”(!) – Japanese almost! It was simple and long-lasting, as well as fulfilling the original aim of bringing the scent down to nose height.

But the simple beauty of the snowdrops, was the winner. So lovely, to bring the harbinger of spring indoors and be able to appreciate them at eye level.

Six of the best! – a contender

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This time, I selected a different sprig for each bottle – a sample of what’s flowering in my garden just now. Sarcococca, of course, with Chimonanthus praecox, and Lonicera fragrantissima, as before. I also found a small sprig of Abeliophyllum distichum, a shrub also known as white forsythia, but with small, delicate, pink-tinged white flowers, with (you’ve guessed!) a lovely delicate scent. Another gem of a shrub, which I am starting to appreciate more, is Daphne laureola. It is a low growing, evergreen shrub, never more than three feet high, with whorls of dark green, leathery leaves. At this time of year the small, unusual green flowers make their appearance, clustered under the leaves. A sprig of this went in, and it’s lasted very well. Last but not least I raided the front garden for a cutting of Coronilla glauca “Citrina” – a beautiful plant with glaucous blue, pinnate leaves, lemon pea-shaped flowers, similar to broom and a scent reminiscent of narcissi. A lovely scented collection!

And it’s even got my husband – a.k.a. “Mr Chef” – remarking on the smell when he comes in! Remarkable!