Saturday, 3 March 2012

The scent of winter drawing to a close

The garden is a surprisingly fragrant place at the moment; a little sunshine and the delights of witch hazel, winter honeysuckle, and the lovely spicy honey scents of erysimum spring up on the lightest breeze. In the conservatory-come-greenhouse, freesias left to bake over the summer are now coming into bloom. The flowers have one of the most sweetly marvellous scents of all.  For the scents of late winter you'll have to brave the cold, but here are some of the colours!

Witch Hazel

Hellebore, Tricastin
Above, the bright, spidery, waxy flowers of Witch hazel flowers in a combination of bright sunny yellow and dark berry red are a true winter treat. They seem to be indestructible, shrugging off any weather to giving off their unique sweet scent whenever a ray of sunshine lights them up.

Left, the beautiful flowers of the late winter flowering Hellebore Tricyrtis. It's taken two years to get itself established, but is now producing  snowy-white flowers with beautiful dark pink speckling.  Like many hellebores the flowers are gently nodding, so you need to get down to their level for the best view. Muddy knees are a small price to pay for a glimpse of this winter beauty. From Parkers.

The (relatively) mild winter here in Yorkshire has meant that the evergreen erysimums have been in flower almost all winter. The ones pictured below have a vanilla-honey-spice scent that's just lovely when it catches you by surprise on light winter breeze. One of the scented pack from Thompson and Morgan last year, which managed to lose their individual labels.  Have a look at their erysimum collection and see if you can tell which one this is!

Meanwhile, in the somewhat more sheltered conditions of the unheated conservatory, the freesias have come into their glory. I can forgive their floppy leaves refusing to stay upright no matter what support I give them, as soon as the first bud bursts open and that wonderful scent draws me in. Heavenly.

overwintered freesias
Freesias available from Thompson and Morgan as plug plants for late summer flowers.

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