It’s been a while since I blogged, and it’s well overdue for a catch up.
No major changes have happened recently in the garden. It’s now becoming well established, with maintenance and tweaking the order of the day. Humdrum stuff really!
But at the height of summer, with everything blooming and smelling divine, I just had to share!
I love hydrangea “Annabelle ” at this time of year, just as the flower heads change from lime green to pure white.
And, as always, when June moves into July, we have the battle for perfume champion.
It’s always the roses…
…. versus the philadelphus.
Mind you, there are other contenders, too.
….and our “borrowed” honeysuckle!
I’m afraid the jury’s still out!
Chloris http://thebloominggarden.wordpress.com/ has been asking which new scented plants, I’ve purchased in the meantime. Not so many, I’m afraid! I’m having to be more disciplined as space is becoming limited. I’ve bought Cistus purpurea to add to the Cottage border, to replace a failing rose, (which has now sprung back into life in a pot – typical!) and a Calycanthus “Venus” for the same reason! (But that’s for another time!)
Of course, there’s also the impulse buy from Malvern show, Rhaphiolepsis umbellata, which is still languishing in its pot, while I ponder where to put it. Must get this one right first time – it won’t tolerate being moved.
And my most recent purchase is – surprise, surprise – not scented! It was bought at the local carnival this weekend and was not an impulse buy. It was one that was premeditated for adding to my collection of blue glazed foliage pots, a dark leaved Phormium, to set off the other surrounding dark planting. (Sadly, with no label!)
I’ve also experimented with seasonal pots, using night scented phlox (easier than Zaluzianskya ovata!) as the main ingredient, which I’ve grown from seed. This is the first time in many years I’ve dabbled in this aspect of the garden. I’ve planted up two large pots and used them alongside complementary summer bedding.
The first is a large, metallic planter where I’ve picked up on the white flowers of the phlox backed with purple, and paired it with a scented Petunia (of course!), one whose perfume takes me back to summer holidays.
The other is in a brown and white glazed pot, where I chose a white begonia with the darkest, chocolate brown leaves I could find, to plant with the phlox, to match the planter.
The rest of the phlox plants I grew have been planted in a couple of containers on their own. As yet, the phlox is yet to flower, though it’s not far off. You can just see them starting to open in the brown pot.
Elsewhere in the garden, the Grass garden was really in need of an overhaul, due to some plants, including, I’m afraid to say, weeds, taking over. It’s now settling in and performing well.
So that’s a round up of our main developments!
And it’s good to be getting back into the swing again! So will see you again soon!
There’s something strangely beautiful about this time of year.
I love the calm that follows the hustle and bustle of the festive season. There’s something nice about ” getting back to normal” and that’s finding the time again for other things.
Now I must admit that our stove is more appealing just now than the great outdoors, with this spell of cold, damp, dreary weather, but it’s well worth making the effort. After all the Christmas tree had to be disposed of.
Five minutes with the secateurs reduced the tree to the trunk and the base. Final result is another log to edge my woodland bed and a bit more firewood for aforementioned stove. ( The branches were recycled courtesy of our green recycling bin.)
So now with that job ticked off my “getting back to normal” to-do list, I had my stroll down the long garden path!
It was all looking decidedly damp and disheveled. The winter weather has taken its toll – flattened grasses and a worryingly, sorry-looking Helwingia shrub, which had been doing so well.
But looking past these set backs, all the wonderful signs of regrowth are starting to appear.
The first crocus shoots poking through….
….and the rhubarb (Oops! I need to weed!)…
And of course, the snowdrops nestling alongside an unfurling hellebore – “Anna’s Red” – under the coloured dogwood stems.
And with all the delight of the gorgeous fragrances wafting out from the Lonicera fragrantissima and Chimonanthus praecox (among several others) shown at the top, it was, in all, a most rewarding stroll.
That’s the strange beauty of this time of year.
It’s hard to hibernate when the garden is waking up! 😀
As a gardener, you never stop learning. Books, magazines, and gardens usually. However, a recent gem of information, came to me via the most unusual source – the supermarket!
Browsing the shelves, I noticed this bottle of vodka – a new one on me! I must confess my eye was drawn to it in the first place, because I did misread it! Bison vodka? No, obviously not, once I looked closer. But bison grass flavoured vodka. Novel!
Now, I’m not a lover of vodka, but I am a lover of finding things out.
Move on a few days, and Lo and behold! I’m sitting comfortably, watching cookery programmes on telly (another favourite topic) wondering where The Hairy Bikers are in this episode. Of course,( for this story to pan out!) they turn up in Poland. They visited a family who gather (you’ve guessed it!) bison grass to flavour vodka. Found in nearby woodlands, on a World Heritage site, they gather and dry the leaves in their attic. And so the programme followed them on their quest to track some down. They found a clump, which the bikers tasted, and claimed it tasted of vanilla and coconut! But it did look familiar to me. I just had to find out what it was!
Where would we be without Google?! It turns out its botanical name is Hierochloe odorata and no wonder it looked familiar. I’ve been growing it in the garden for several years! I was tempted to try growing it from seed, when the seed catalogue described a scented grass! Well, how could I resist! It turned out to be a rather disappointing grass, with no interesting form, being very floppy and prostrate, and with no scent that I could detect. I hate to say, but in the ground, it could easily be taken for a clump of weeds! The only way I could give it any kind of appearance, was to grow three plants, flowing out of three identical blue glazed pots. At least that way, they looked like they were meant be there!
All that time, and I never knew their secret! I can look at them now in a new light!
If only I liked vodka!
At last! Tuesday brought some warm sunshine! And time to enjoy it and make good use of it!
As you know, I have been threatening some far reaching changes for some time now. Last week, the 25 year old ash tree, was finally felled, leaving a stump – and a mushroom! Along with that, the garden reshuffle has moved on from the “thinking about it” phase, to the “getting on with it” phase. So the warm, sunshine made for a perfect day to make some progress.
It wasn’t just the sunshine that made the hard slog such a pleasant experience, but also the adjacent Viburnum carlesii “Aurora” pumping out its perfume. The beautiful pink domes of flowers are quite plentiful this year, and so the scent of pinks kept wafting my way.
And while trudging up and down the garden, passing the Osmanthus delavayii rewarded me with another perfumed delight – this time more heady, like jasmine. The tiny, pure white trumpets, en masse, create a stunning effect against the dark green leaves.
So I was distracted, and found myself, armed with my iPad, on a perfume hunt round the garden.
Clematis armandii, which had opened its first buds shortly after we returned after New Year, has now reached its peak and is starting to go over. Its new shoots are waving around, threateningly, daring me to tie them in. Their soft perfume can be detected quite unexpectedly.
Of course, true to form, the Coronilla in the front garden, was still blooming away happily. Such a pretty sight, with the lemon flowers set against its glaucous leaves.
Here’s one I moved earlier! Elaeagnus umbellata was a victim of my reshuffle, moving from its cramped position snuggled up against a Philadelphus in the Scented Shrub border. Here, its delicate form will mingle with the perennials in what was originally the Medicinal herb bed, and its silvery leaves should provide a lovely backdrop to the bright pink blooms of Rosa gallica oficinallis (the “Apothecary’s rose”). Its tiny, powerfully scented flowers can still be spotted in the photo. And smelt in the garden!
So, as you can imagine, I didn’t achieve as much as I’d set out to do, but who cares! That’s what’s important about gardening – taking time to enjoy it, as well as to do it!
This just sums it up!
I must confess I have been struggling for inspiration both in gardening and blogging. I could blame a late holiday. I could blame six weeks of world class rugby for taking my interest. And I could blame decorating for taking my time. But that was many weeks ago. I don’t even think I can blame the usual Christmas panic. All is in hand for once. After deliberating this strange situation, I realise I must blame the weather. It has truly dampened my spirits – not to mention the garden.
I hate wind! More than any other weather episode! Apart from the arch, it has also blown down a fence panel and countless pots have been blown over and debris been scattered around the garden. Climbers have been torn from their supports. Everything is sodden. The garden is in a sorry state. And the truth of the matter is, that the newly decorated indoors is, just now, more appealing!😩
Don’t panic, though! This illness is acute, not chronic! And time is a healer!
Despite the minor destruction, there is still much of interest in the garden. My all important scent is still present, in the form of Mahonia japonica, Lonicera purpusii and Coronilla Citrina, with many more perfumed buds waiting in the wings – complete with new shoots! I’m already seeing signs of bulbs coming through, and hellebore flowers pushing their way through the damp soil. Festive red skimmia berries are so welcome! Even roses are still managing to bloom, as my last vase shows.
This is when foliage plays its part. Especially grasses. They are not just for summer!
What a beautiful bright gold to brighten the gloom!
That said, I feel there is much room for improvement. Many of our shrubs are either overgrown, or underperforming. The domineering ash tree is, I’m sure, now having a detrimental effect. So a rethink is on the cards for the New year.
The tree must go, the surgeon has been appointed, and we are awaiting a date.
That will let in so much more light. I want to add loads of soil improver to the shrub borders, to improve the quality of the soil, probably quite malnourished. I want to look closely at the flower borders, and ruthlessly dispatch those that are not performing well. I’m well aware of the growing number of scented shrubs dotted around the garden, still in their original containers (if they haven’t been blown over!). I think I must follow my passion in redesigning these borders, shifting the emphasis towards these shrubs. Many, which are struggling planted on the shady side, may appreciate a move from the dark side. I must keep myself in check, though, and not be too hasty. Who knows what a difference a tree makes – or lack of it!
So, despite the grey skies and gloomy weather forecasts, there is much to look forward to next year. It’s quite exciting, really!
That’s what gardening does! 😀
I’m afraid, there’s not been much blooming in the garden this month to provide us with perfume.
There’s the last of the lavender.
These lavenders, “Hidcote”, were planted earlier in the summer, in the sunny front garden. They’re settling in well and flowering nicely already. I love the dark purple flowers. They should be completed well by the paler Perovskia planted behind. The beauty of these two plants, is that they don’t need to flower to provide perfume. Like the lavender, Perovskia, too, has aromatic leaves.
And, of course, flowers don’t have the monopoly on scent. So many plants have scented, aromatic leaves and they provide the backbone to the scented garden. We all know the Mediterranean herbs well – Rosemary, sage, thyme and so on. Every well stocked garden should have these stalwarts, whether as decorative specimens, (just think of purple sage in a border!) or a as a dedicated herb garden. Brushing against the leaves gives a whiff of sunny climes!
At this time, when flowers are becoming more scarce, leaves are there to plug the gap. Apart from the obvious lavenders and herbs already mentioned, we have several other interesting plants who give us scent through their leaves. The Caryopteris, which has just stopped flowering, still has, for the moment, its aromatic foliage. Choisya ternata, Drymis and Calycarpa are other shrubs that have scented leaves when rubbed. Did you know that, when crushed, Gaultheria procumbens (I know! It too, has had a name change! I think it’s now Pernettyia!) leaves smell of germolene? And that, when wet, the leaves of Rosa rubiginosa, the sweet briar rose, smells of apples?
Oh, and there’s Cestrum parqui, but that’s not pleasant!
So all is not lost!
Autumn is all about foliage, mainly due to its myriad of colours.
Isn’t this gorgeous?
This is Cercidiphyllum japonicum “Red Fox”, which have growing in a pot, under planted with the golden grass, Milium effusum, or Bowle’s golden grass, which complements this plants plum coloured foliage. But at this time of year its red leaves become a gorgeous mix of toffee shades. And that’s not all! The fallen leaves smell of candy Floss!
But, it has reached the time of year, where the scented flowering shrubs are heading towards their winter display.
Our wonderful Coronilla “Citrina” has started flowering again.
I swear it can only have stopped flowering a couple of months ago!
Mahonia japonica’s racemes of lemon, perfumed flowers are just starting to open, and Viburnum farreri has its tiny “cotton wool” balls of pink, flowering too.
Yes, summer is definitely gone and it’s all about winter now!
How’s your garden smelling this month? Do tell us!