Tag Archives: Scented shrubs

The Beautiful Calm

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! 😀

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In the Bleak Midwinter?

Well, it did seem to be the case, sitting indoors listening to the rain, yet again, pattering against the window. Looking out at grey skies can really dampen the spirits. But then again, the view from the French windows, had to produce a glimmer of cheer.

The sight of Garrya elliptica’s beautiful long catkins, like icicles, led me to venture out with iPad in hand. Never mind the rain!

So glad I did!

I was heading right to the end of the garden (how brave!) to the Woodland garden, hoping to find the first signs of Spring there.

En route, I paused to take in the perfume of our Mahonia japonica – a sniff of early lily of the valley!

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Then on through the Allotment to revel in the sight of this year’s rhubarb poking through.

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And then reaching the Woodland, to discover all that I had hoped for!

What with snowdrops, perfume and the promise of joys to come, it’s not so bleak at all!

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Scent in the Garden – On A Warm, Sunny Day

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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.

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So I was distracted, and found myself, armed with my iPad, on a perfume hunt round the garden.

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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.

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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.

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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!

My Poor Little Homeless Babies!

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Poor little things! It’s not as if they’re unloved – far from it! Just one look, and I had to have them. And that’s the problem. The family is growing and must have a home.

Let me introduce you!
From left to right;

Escallonia “Iveyi”, Salvia “Senation Deep Rose”, Drimys lanceolata, Caryopteris clandonensis “Dark Knight”, Helwingia chinensis, Cestrum parqui, Pittosporum tobira, with a tiny hellebore seedling at the front.

Things appear uneventful on The Long Garden Path over recent weeks, with not much to report or write about, other than broken fence panels, which is of little interest to anyone. Activity levels outside have been far too low, with either the wind or incessant rain beating me, sending me scurrying indoors to the welcome warmth.

There have been some pleasures on the “walks round the estate”.

Winter scent, in the form of Clematis armandii ” Apple Blossom”

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and various Sarcococcas,

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and the early spring beauty in the Woodland.

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But the little grey cells have not hibernated. Indeed, they are working well, if nothing else is. They have long been pondering the problem. And so, now, there is an overhaul in the pipeline.
I think I’ve already mentioned tweeking the cottage border and adding in or moving, scented shrubs, which, hopefully will do better in a sunnier border. And now the “walks” have clarified where each will live.

Of course, this mental exercise has had a knock on effect, which will impinge on both the existing shrub border, and the Woodland. Will I ever resist moving my poor plants about and let them be?

The little grey cells have also pondered the Allotment, and improvements that can be made there. They have persuaded us to add two new raised beds – one for veg. and another one for more strawberries. You can never have too many strawberries!

So I have been shopping. A start has been made. Seeds have been bought and started off, and compost and soil improver stocked up on. Now all we need is some dry and, hopefully, warmer weather, to leap into action! (Or at least creep!)

Oh, but before I get carried away with excitement, I just have to go back to the aforementioned fence panels. None of this can sensibly be done till they are repaired!

Such is a gardener’s life!

Oh, Dear! Never Mind!

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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.

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This is when foliage plays its part. Especially grasses. They are not just for summer!

Hakonechloa macra

Hakonechloa macra

 

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! 😀

Scent in the Garden – October

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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Yes, summer is definitely gone and it’s all about winter now!

How’s your garden smelling this month? Do tell us!

And thank you to Wellywoman and Backlane Notebook, for starting this.