Tag Archives: forsythia

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.


Spring sunshine and promises of things to come.


It’s amazing what a bit of warm, sunshine can do, not just to our spirits but also to the garden!

I was walking round “The Estate” yesterday, and suddenly, all had become “spring-like”. The crocuses and daffs from the last few weeks were being overtaken by so many other new buds and flowers. Signs of life and promise were bursting forth everywhere.


The crocuses we planted first, are really spreading out now and creating impact. However, are now starting to look past their best for this year.


The forsythia, which we inherited when we moved in, has stayed even although it doesn’t “fit” my scented border theme, purely because I didn’t fancy trying to dig it out! Instead, I’m keeping it well pruned to keep it from dominating, and using it as a host for a scented climber. I’m trying to establish a Clematis rehderiana through it. This one has pretty, lemon bell-shaped flowers, with a scent of cowslips. But the forsythia’s cheeriness does earn it it’s keep, at this time of year! Here it is, starting to do its thing.


These new shoots of another scented clematis, this time Clematis flammula, definitely show the promise of things to come! This, despite being cut back hard in Feb, will smother its arch by the end of summer. Its shower of white starry flowers, billow forth providing a spectacular display. And yet the scent is quite delicate – a soft, almond scent.

Hellebore "Ashwood hybrid"

Hellebore “Ashwood hybrid”

Hellebore "Ashwood hybrid"

Hellebore “Ashwood hybrid”

Two of my Ashwood hybrid hellebores are going great guns at the moment. These are in my two small “black & white” beds. You can’t tell here, as is the nature of hellebores, but the white ones have wonderful purple/black speckling inside the flowers.

Prunus incisa "Kojo-no-mai"

Prunus incisa “Kojo-no-mai”

And my beautiful Cherry! I love it’s quirky stems, and delicate, soft pink flowers. I was determined to have some Cherry blossom in my garden – no scent granted, but another lovely, harbinger of spring. As I was running out of border space, I opted for a dwarf variety to grow in a pot. What a choice – it’s been a thing of beauty ever since. This year I’m planning to treat it to a new, bigger pot!


These unnamed primulas and dwarf narcissi, are remnants of a previous Mother’s Day present – a potted plant display that my son bought me two years ago. Once the display went over, I planted them out. And haven’t they done well! They sit nicely at the end of “The long garden path”, nestled around our statue in the “woodland” area.


My tulip shoots are coming through too. I wanted to grow some in a spare pot I had and fell in love with a recommendation of Sarah Raven’s – “La Belle Époque”. It’s described as a double tulip, mainly pink, with coffee colouring at the base of the petals and with flashes of crimson and green. The picture looks nicer than the description sounds – trust me! I’m looking forward to seeing it flower.

Woodland in spring

Woodland in spring

And to round it all off, a shot of our “Woodland” garden, which I revamped last autumn, by adding some more shrubs for autumn interest at the expense of some poorly performing perennials. It’s coming on!

All this, and the sounds of spring too! The bees were buzzing round the new blooms, and the birds, now busy, we’re twittering away. And eating out in the garden for the first time this year. Roll on summer! (Hope I haven’t jinxed us now!)