Tag Archives: Scented shrubs

Today’s Walk Around The Estate….

….produced a couple of lovely surprises!

The yucca in our front garden is older than our occupation. It was well established when we arrived over 25 years ago and has dictated how we laid out our front garden. There was no way we could face removing it – even if we had wanted to! Far too ferocious!

I was aware there were several flower spikes emerging – nothing unusual in that – but, coming home today, I noticed a few more red buds appearing. I took a spike count – NINE in total!

That’s our record!

My next pleasant surprise was our hop. Originally I propagated it from a wild hop, to add to our very first herb garden. It used to try to scale the ash tree, which we’ve recently had to remove, but then was little more than a sapling. It has somewhat lost a lot of its vigour without its climbing pole, and instead spreads out, determined to trip us up. It’s another plant that would be nigh on impossible to remove, with its strong root system embedded within the roots of the old ash trunk! So I’ve let it do its thing, just cutting out its “trip wires”. I just draped one of these treacherous shoots, over our potted calycanthus, out of the way. I didn’t realise how nicely it would perform, once it flowered. And a totally unexpected effect!

Gardening isn’t always hard work!

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Little Vases.

I’ve recently ventured into the world of Instagram and was prompted, by a post, to show off my new set of little vases.

Julie at Peonies and Posies had posted a photo of a similar set of little vases, in white, filled with pure white snowdrops – so beautiful! I thought it was high time to put mine to good use .

Our clumps of snowdrops are now expanding well, with so many blooms available to cut, but I wanted to choose colours more in keeping with the colours in the vases – and I’d already cut some snowdrops for a couple of displays indoors.

The “piece de resistance” had to be the gorgeous dark red of the hellebore “Anna’s Red”, and I wanted to choose colours to complement this. A perfect choice was Chimonanthes praecox, whose colours seem to be the reverse of the hellebore – yellow petals to match the centre of the hellebore, with a wine-red base similar to the colour of Anna’s petals. That also brought in with it, its gorgeous, spicy perfume! Some greenery was needed, along with some pinky-red tones to complement “Anna’s Red”, courtesy of a few sprigs of Skimmia rubella and Sarcococca digyna.

I must say though, that while I love the scent of Sarcococca in the garden, and the way it hits you so unexpectedly, I’m not so sure I’m so keen on the perfume indoors! I also noticed it recently while enjoying Ashwood nursery’s glass house displays of hellebores and winter flowering shrubs, with lots of Sarcococca on show. Never mind, the Chimonanthes wins!

So there we have it! My little vases with complementary dusky shades. A most wonderful pressy!

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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! 😀

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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