Tag Archives: Milk bottles

The Cuttings Calendar – January


Having instigated my Cuttings Calender, and set myself the target of a constant supply of indoor arrangements, I’d better get on with it! It is now nearly the end of February, with little to show so far.

Indoor arrangements – well, I must use the term loosely! I do like single sprays occasionally, sometimes for simple impact, but sometimes because there is little available at the time. I will allow myself that leeway for my first attempts!
My fellow bloggers have inspired me to be more imaginative so I must be more adventurous in future.


My Mahonia selection in milk bottles, was a contender. It imparted a wonderful scent around the room and was a lovely, cheery yellow. It also lasted well. Snowdrops with Sarcococca also featured for several days.

However, the Sarcococca had to be the pick of January! It was my first attempt and so had to be the one!

Six of the best! – a contender


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!

Sweet Wintersweet

Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox

So beautiful outlined against a (rare!) blue sky! The photo doesn’t do it justice, I’m afraid!

My Chimonanthus praecox was one of the first acquisitions for my scented shrub border when we started the garden about twenty years ago. Just as well, considering this plant’s reputation for taking many years to flower. After about three to four years, it slowly started to release both its blooms and its wonderful scent.

Like the Lonicera, it is not much to look at throughout the year. It is somewhat sprawling, and benefits from being trained against a wall or fence. This provides a bit of shelter for it, as well as keeping it tidy. The large pale green leaves,somewhat rough to the touch, droop from the branches in summer, but it is the flowers which burst from the bare stems in winter, which are the great delight. The small, drooping yellow flowers are often described as waxy, and have a wine/purple blotch at the base of the petals. If you can get up close, they emit a wonderful scent – rich and spicy! (Isn’t it really difficult to describe scent? It’s a very personal thing!)

Unfortunately, it’s getting up close that’s proving difficult now. When we had to replace the fence panels a few years ago, my poor, nurtured wintersweet had to be cut back in places in the process. Boy, did it sulk, with no flowers the following year! But it’s hung on, and this year has started flowering again, albeit rather sparsely. It has become somewhat gangly, and the prized flowers are out of reach, as you can see from my photo. I must get the secateurs and pruning manual out for a bit of t.l.c.!

However, all is not lost! They are still within cutting distance, so I’ve been able to cut a stem to bring indoors.


And this brings me on to my next “thing”! I’ve set myself a challenge to have a constant indoor display of flowers and clippings from the garden. My wonderful milk bottles, which you may have already been introduced to, got me thinking. I’ve already made a start, with my first display of Sarcococca. I will aim to post as many as possible, and I want to choose a favourite for each month – hence “The Cuttings Calendar”! So your comments and ideas will be most welcome! (Hope they’re nice!)

So watch this space!

January blues?….I don’t think so!

I’ve been told that January is supposed to be the gloomiest month of the year, with “Blue Monday” (either the 6th or 20th, depending on your sources) as the most depressing day. O.K. So the mirth and mayhem of the festive season is over, and we’re faced with months of darkness and drab weather, before spring lifts our spirits again with the certainty of long, hot, summer days ahead! (Hmm!!). You’re probably tempted to head back to bed and bury yourself under the duvet to sleep through it.
Don’t rush off though! Look at it another way. The hectic madness is over and there is a refreshing peace and tranquility to replace it. And as if that’s not enough, as a gardener, this is the time of freshness and renewal.
Today has been the perfect example. I have just spent some time in my garden (aka “The Estate”!) and it has been in no way gloomy or depressing. The sun has been shining in a clear, blue sky giving warmth to an otherwise frosty day. Already the bulbs are starting to force their way through – I spotted snowdrops, crocuses and narcissi. And I counted five shrubs in bloom, pumping out their gorgeous scent all through the garden. So already I’ve got cutting material to bring indoors. (My Xmas pressy getting its first use!) This I must share!
How can anyone with a garden be blue in January?


New Year, New Blogger!

It’s the perfect time of year to take the plunge, and finally put pen to paper, so to speak! Why not record my thoughts and ideas and whatever else I feel like recording!
But before I launch myself headlong into my plans for the coming year (which, incidentally, haven’t actually materialised yet!) I want to revel a bit longer in some of my amazing garden-type pressies!20140102-161106.jpg
Can’t wait to fill them with the first spring or even, hopefully, winter flowers!