Tag Archives: Sarcococca confusa

End of month view – January 2018

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I somehow managed to delete the ‘classic’ photo I took looking across the lawn to the swing, so thought I’d start with the shady bed for a change.  This is the location of the Sarcococca (on the left) which I snipped for my scented Monday vase.  There’s a lovely dark hellebore here too, towards the centre of the photo, but it’s not yet open.  Another ‘spring thing’ to look forward to!

In the troughs the stocks, which were grown from cuttings and planted out last year, are finally starting to make their mark and will hopefully also provide scent later in the year.  In front of them plenty of daffodils are just peeping above the parapet.  The grand plan for this bed later in the year is to have a mass planting of Pelargoniums as I think they’re about the only thing I can think of that will tolerate the heat and dryness of these metal troughs in the summer.  IMG_3867

The strawberry bed is largely devoid of strawberries and increasingly overwhelmed with Agapanthus, but I’m fine with that (even if my daughter isn’t!)IMG_3868

The Swing Beds are still pretty green but definitely in need of a tidy – particularly those roses.  I’m going to need to be feeling strong for them!IMG_3869

The swing itself has a rather charming ‘fringe’ of Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ on the right hand side.  Sadly, the one on the left seems to have disappeared.IMG_3870

The right hand Swing Bed is looking as dull as the left one, but with a similarly scary looking rambling rose.  Now where are those gauntlets….IMG_3871

Happily, in the robustly defended Grass Bed, the bulbs are coming up unmolested.  At some stage – once I’m confident they’re beyond being eaten but preferably before all the buds have formed – I’ll need to remove the chicken wire so we can enjoy them.

Meanwhile, I’m a worried the Stipa tenuissima are looking a bit peaky.  I normally have a bit of a divide/replant over winter to try to maintain the row, but there’s not much material to work with!IMG_3872

Looking across the Mid Century bed towards the greenhouse you can still see the big white sacks of compost and manure delivered before Christmas.  I have done some sh*t shovelling, but the weather has been so rubbish that reading a gardening magazine by the warmth of the Aga has been rather more appealing.IMG_3873

In the metal bath by the front steps the Osteospermums are still flowering.  I did try to take some cuttings but they didn’t take.  Perhaps I’ll try again in the spring as I do love this colour.IMG_3859

Further round, the Hamamelis is looking good – it probably deserves neater environs, so that’s another bed that needs a tidy and mulch.IMG_3855

The Bronze Bed is already showing signs of the (hopefully) bonanza of bulbs to come.  For the last two years there have almost been too many, but I’m not complaining!IMG_3856

Numerous succulents and Aeoniums are still sheltering under the glass canopy,IMG_3858

whilst in the greenhouse there are lots of Perlargonium cuttings coming on, as well as a few bought ones from Derry Watkin’s nursery which I visited when we went to Bath.IMG_3865

In addition, here is the first wave of sweet peas – these are the ‘Winter Sunshine’ variety that last year flowered in April.IMG_3866

And to finish, yet more bulbs to look forward to.  Roll on spring!IMG_3860

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting EoMVs.

 

 

In a vase on Monday – all white now

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Happily, not only did I not succumb to the flu, but my three family ‘sicknotes’ are all recovered, hence part of the reason for the title.  The second one is obvious, the blooms are, pretty much, all white.

I have very little white in the garden, not because I don’t like it, but because I don’t like mixing it with other colours (hence my white themed planting in the Grass Bed last summer of just white Cosmos, Malope and Erigeron). 

What prompted today’s vase was the waft of Sarcococca scent I got when taking my ‘End of Month view’ photos earlier today.  The Sarcococca was planted as a tiny specimen and this is the first year it’s been large enough to smell ‘in passing’ (ie rather than grovelling on hands and knees for a sniff!)  Consequently, I thought it would be lovely to cut a couple of stems for the house.

Thinking I’d go with a white theme, I then added some stems of Leucojum (Giant Snowflake),IMG_3880

and some little stems of the evergreen Coleonema ‘Sunset Gold’.   This is now a large plant at the top of the ‘lavender’ steps, bought years ago as a good foliage plant.  The fact that it also produces such exquisite little star shaped blooms at an otherwise bloom-free time of year is a massive bonus.  Like the Sarcococca, I’ve never it picked for a vase before, so I’m not sure how well it will last.

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Lastly I added a couple of stems of Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’.  This is currently providing a veritable curtain across the front of the swing, and although most blooms are either over, or distinctly tatty, a few are still perfect.IMG_3885

The photos were taken with flash (something I usually try to avoid), as the light was so poor by the time I’d come inside.  However, for once, I like the effect as the flash helps to highlight the white against the dark granite surface.IMG_3887

Whilst the vase was put together on Sunday, this morning I’ve really enjoyed having the scent wafting around the kitchen.  In fact, bearing in mind how small the stems are, they pack a wonderful perfumed punch and I can’t believe I didn’t think to cut a little sprig last year.  I’m not sure how long the scent will last, but as I’m leaving for London again early tomorrow, I’m sure it will see me out!

With thanks to Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden who’s sharing a lovely spring display this week and, as usual, hosting all our Monday vases.

End of Month View – February 2017

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The Shady Bed is looking good despite the gloom.  Here is probably the largest clump of Hellebores and they’re joined by the sweetly scented Sarcococca and the constant Fatsia japonica.

Elsewhere, the main view is very gloomy (not helped by timing my photos an hour before some watery sunshine emerged).img_2116

In the troughs there are plenty of shoots, but as yet no colour.  Did I mention that I’d replaced the old Stocks at the back with new cuttings?  And whilst they don’t seem to be making much progress, the self seeded Cerinthe in the path in front is romping away…img_2120

The Swing Beds are still looking quite full but hardly flowery.  Many herbaceous plants still need a cut back, as do the roses, which are looking extremely wild and woolly.img_2121

The two Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ are still blooming well on the pergola, but definitely rather tatty on close inspection.  And I fear pruning the Rosa St Swithun growing amongst them is going to be a little challenging!

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More bulbous shoots in the Grass Bed, but as yet no blooms here either.img_2124

I’ve pruned all the roses in the Mid Century bed, but still haven’t attacked the Salvias.  In the foreground you can see some overwintered Antirrhinum which look closer to flowering than some of the bulbs!

The soil level has fallen in this bed again this year

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so lucky I’m prepared!

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On the other side of the garden in the Oak Bed the Hamamelis (H. Arnold’s Promise) is glowing against the wall.  It probably deserves rescuing from all that dead foliage!img_2133

In the Bronze Bed the Narcissi ‘Cragford’ are the furthest advanced of all my daffodils and will soon be ready to ‘pop’.

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Also ready to pop any minute, my other Hamamelis, H. Aphrobite.  Just a couple of blooms so far, but much promise and such a lovely colour.img_2135

In the greenhouse, the Winter Sunshine Sweet Peas have now been planted out,img_2128

there are seeds stirring in the damp darkness (I hope)img_2129

and on the windowsill a few perky Muscari latifolium, returned again from the Wedding Flowers of two years ago.  Step niece Hannah (whose wedding it was) is now proud mum to Hamish so, looking at the colour, I should probably have sent them over!)img_2126

And to finish, you can’t beat a jolly pot of ‘Tete a Tete’.img_2137

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting everyone’s EoMV.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – February 2017

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One solitary Tete a tete Narcissus to herald this February’s GBBD!

With the photos taken in Sunday’s gloom, it was a joy to find more yellow elsewhere from Cornus mas,img_2076

rather tatty looking Erysimum ‘Ivory Giant’img_2088

Hamamelis ‘Arnold’s Promise’img_2085

and the rather acid yellow of an Aeonium flower head.  (This latter one in the greenhouse!)

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Less yellow and more green, the emerging flower spikes of Euphorbia characias Wulfenii. The joke is that this burgeoning clump is self seeded, whereas the plant I bought and positioned carefully closer to the swing, is a complete wimp in comparison.img_2096

The following pair were featured ages ago in a Wordless Wednesday called ‘Blues Brothers’ – they are both members of the family Lamiaceae, and both flowering now Rosmarinus prostratus and Teucrium fruticans,

The pergola is still smothered in Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ but I have to admit that the recent wind and cold has made the majority of them look rather chewed.  I had to work hard to find this one!img_2098

I don’t have much white in the garden as I find it hard to mix successfully with other colours, but at this time of year there are a few exceptions – beautifully scented Sarcococca confusa,img_2093

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and this pot of Crocus – Crocus chrysanthus Miss Vain.  These have been growing in the greenhouse so now they’re out in the open I hope they don’t get eaten.  Wouldn’t be the first time.  Grrr.img_2100

And to finish, a lovely clutch of Hellebores.

With thanks to Carol at May Dream Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBDs.  Why don’t you pop over and see what others have blooming now?

End of month view – October 2016

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It’s beginning to look a lot like… autumn.  The over the road oak’s papery leaves are just starting to fall and the autumn tints of the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ are showing off the beautiful heart shaped leaves.

Elsewhere at this side of the garden my beautiful Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’ has completely given up the ghost and there’s not much to admire in the Bronze Bed except the wonderful Melianthus major in the background.  In the centre you can see part of the ribbon of Carex buchananii grasses grown from seed and planted out this year.  The idea was that they would remain evergreen (ever-brown actually – my mother in law thought they’d died) and provide interest through the winter and combine well with the Hamamelis before the bulbs. It will be interesting to see if this works, or whether they do indeed just look rather dead.

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Across to the eastern end the Swing Beds are still green but really not very colourful apart from the Salvias.  As well as some late colour, after completion of my planting course last year I’d really like to introduce some better structure here.  I’d deliberately not planted anything shrubby to the back of the area immediately either side of the swing because I grew sweet peas up netting at the back for a few years.  However, they’ve never done that well and so this year I didn’t bother and think the lack of height here – particularly bearing in mind the size of the Phlomis and Elaeagnus further out – is a problem.  But what to plant?  Hmm.img_1846

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The plan for the grass bed this year was to have a froth of Cosmos and Ammi, but I planted some Calendula along the front edge to cover up the gaps until the other two got going.  So where are we now?  Er, completely overrun with self seeded Nasturtiums!  I really must dig these out as I do love the forget me nots in this bed and at this rate there won’t be any.img_1852

These two make a pretty autumnal combination, but so not the white effect I’d planned!img_1851

The Salvias are making their mark in the Mid Century Bed too, but I also like the dark AntirrhinumsA. majus nanum ‘Black Prince’ and there are still some dahlias and even roses coming.  Plenty of new Cerinthe growth too, with the odd plant actually in the bed rather than the paths!img_1854

Here’s Rosa ‘Falstaff climbing’ looking a little chewed on the obelisk.img_1853

In the Veg Beds there’s not much to see except the Kale.  I do love the look and colour of these leaves, and have even used them in arrangements, but they do give a rather cabbagey aroma which is less than ideal!img_1843

In pots there are plenty of Pelargoniums still pumping out the flowers including this beauty P. Surcouf,img_1842

and a number of succulents having a late bloomimg_1841

or just looking bonny!img_1832

The raised Cutting Beds have been pretty hopeless this year due to lack of water, so rather a shock to see the Zinnias pumping out the flowers now too.img_1837

To the right of the raised beds you can see the Shady Bed which looks much the same as always except the gradual increase in size of the Sarcococca confusa.  This is finally making its mark both in looks now and scent later in the winter.  Perhaps I’ll even allow myself to cut a few sprigs next year.img_1838

And to finish, the greenhouse.  Whilst the veg in here are coming to an endimg_1839

I’m excited at the prospect of new babies for next year – firstly cuttings in the propagatorimg_1840

but also Winter Sweet Peas, still in the packet as I type, but I can’t wait to see these again come next April!IMG_0199

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting everyone’s EoMVs.

 

End of month view – February 2016

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Welcome to a sunny End of Month View!  Last month’s EoMV, I note was sunny too, but frankly there’s been precious little in between.  The lawn is still soggy, and although it has been cut once during the month, it’s only marginally less field like.

The Swing Beds are much the same as last month just with some more bulb foliage, as well as plenty of Sisyrinchium striatum leaves.  Long standing readers may remember these beds got rather overwhelmed with Sisyrinchium, so I dug them out, only to go on a visit to Mottistone Manor last summer and really admire them there, so I moved a whole lot back.  Fickle?  Moi?

The Grass Bed is also similar to last month, but here, as well as bulb foliage, there are plenty of forget me nots, some of which are just starting to flower.IMG_0005

There’s nothing in the Veg Bed for the Diving Lady to admire currently, but she does have a new pool.  Last year’s rather purple Iris reticulata ‘Blue Note’ has been replaced with Iris histrioides ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley.’

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In the shady bed the Hellebores are still the highlightIMG_0025

particularly this lovely dark one.

Just behind it is a Sarcococca confusa which has finally got big enough for the scent to be apparent without having to scrabble around sniffing at kneecap height!IMG_0026

At the other side of the garden, this Hamamelis, H. ‘Arnold’s Promise,’ is finally (after about six years) starting to make a statement,IMG_0013

whilst in the Bronze Bed, H. Aphrodite is a little less shy than she was a couple of weeks ago.

The idea was that the colour of the Hamamelis blooms would be picked up by the trumpet of the Narcissus ‘Cragford’.  Well sort of!IMG_0012

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Along the boundary with next door, is this inherited grass, absolutely glowing in the low light.  It’s really time for a cut back, but I’ll for a while longer.  Any clues what it is?  I’m thinking maybe Miscanthus?

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There are plenty of pots around including this new one planted up by the front door.  For once I’ve got the Crocuses past the mice.IMG_0036

And meanwhile in the greenhouse, I’ve finally planted out my ‘Owl’s Acre’ supposedly early flowering ‘Winter Sunshine’ Sweet Peas.  I don’t quite see them flowering in March, as suggested on their website, but I think I have to take a lot of the blame for that.

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Elsewhere in the greenhouse, I’ve finally started planting seedsIMG_0021IMG_0020

as well as pricking out autumn sown seeds – this time Rhodochiton atrosanguineus, which I’m hoping to have growing up the obelisk again this year.IMG_0023

And to finish, a bucket full of N. ‘Tete a tete’ – so cheery!IMG_0019

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting all out EoMV.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – February 2015

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As in January, a strange mix of spring bulbs and rather more exotic plants are blooming.  The Grevillea above has a number of genus companions, including this one.IMG_6026

These are both outside, the first in the ground and the other in a pot that’s too heavy and too far from warmth to move.  Bearing in mind they’re (largely) Australian, do you think they’re following the seasons down under?

As well as the Iris reticulata ‘Gordon‘ featured last month, IMG_5985

this has now been joined by Iris reticulata ‘Blue Note’, providing an early pool for the Lady Diver. Although why on earth she’d want to be swimming outside this early in the year I have no idea.IMG_6020

I’m very excited to report that since last month, my Hamamelis count has increased to three. The one below is the one I think is ‘Arnold’s Promise’.IMG_6000

This has been joined by a very small  H. Jelena featured in last week’s Wordless WednesdayIMG_6012

and, as of yesterday’s visit to the Hillier Gardens, a rather more magnificent H. Aphrodite.  I’m very chuffed that Aphrodite was my Valentine treat from the OH!IMG_5987

There are more Hellebores blooming, although they’re still not good at lifting their heads.  I seem to recall last year the first ones below, in particular, became more erect as the month went on.IMG_5994IMG_5998IMG_6008

As far as bulbs are concerned, I actually have more of these (inherited) Leucojum than Snowdrops. IMG_6016

as well as many little Muscari Armeniacum ‘Big Smile‘, planted in pots.IMG_6015

My only real ‘winter interest’ shrub is the Sarcococca confusa.  Sadly this is tucked away in the shady bed, thus breaking all the rules about keeping it near the door so you can enjoy the perfume.

I have been considering digging out a large Phormium (which is near the door) and replacing it with something new for winter interest, but I just can’t decide what would be best.  I’m vacillating between Daphne/Lonicera/Viburnum.  Any thoughts?IMG_6006

One of my favourite plants flowering at the moment is this little primrose.  It is self seeded on the steps which run between the two Lavender Beds.  It’s a lovely colour, rather more ‘dusky’ than this picture would suggest.  I would love more of it, but I’m terrified to try to dig it up to divide it in case I just rip the plant from the roots (it’s growing in a very small crack).  And I’ve never seen any likely looking seeds.IMG_6004

And, in case you’re missing the sun, (as I said last month), I give you the following.

Not quite as sunny as last month’s Abutilon ‘Orange Marion‘, but this one is the better named –Viola ‘Sunny Side Up’,IMG_5982

With thanks as ever to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts the GBBD.