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Archive for the ‘Scented’ Category

Hesperis Matronalis, Sweet Rocket 2

I think I sowed Hesperis matronalis (aka Sweet Rocket) a few years ago and now this chirpy biennial (or short-lived perennial) luckily self seeds in a wild area in the front garden corner plot. I do remember that Sweet Rocket was all the rage at Chelsea about that time and it must have been this that inspired me to get sowing in the first place. Not only does it look good, but it’s been flowering for weeks and the scent is simultaneously sweet and fresh and provides a heavenly welcome home.

Hesperis Matronalis, Sweet Rocket

Hesperis matronalis grows to about 3-4 feet in sun or part shade, comes in violet and white, and now is the perfect time to sow for flowering next summer. It’s great for bees, butterflies and moths and although it’s a traditional cottage garden favourite, sits happily amongst thistles, brambles and wild roses in this part of the garden. I love it!

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Pittosporum illiciodes v. angustifolium

I’m a big fan of the Pittosporum genus and was delighted to find such a gorgeous airy specimen two years ago at the RHS spring show on the Crug Farm stand.

Pittosporum illiciodes var angustifolium

I bought this evergreen shrub to screen my compost bin, and although it’s a little slower than I had imagined, it’s still coming along nicely. This spidery Pittosporum will grow in sun or part shade, with its leaves elongating in more shadier spots, and it also has, yet to be seen, small yellow flowers. To be honest, it’s getting a bit more shade than I originally planned for, as I’ve let a Clematis montana scramble up into a nearby small apple tree and it’s blocking out a fair amount of light. So as soon as the horizontal sleety/snowy rain is over, I might venture out to carefully start untangling the climber from the tree.

Pittosporum tennuifolium flowers

Not far away is a Pittosporum tennuifolium, merrily romping away (well over 6 ft and still growing) in a dryish shady spot under another apple tree. Last April I was stopped in my tracks by the scent from its tiny black flowers, and I’m eager to see, when my P. illiciodes does flower, if the tiny yellow blooms will also pack a punch.

Snowdrops on Avon Bulbs Stand

So if you’re on the lookout for some unusual shrubs or want to stock up on spring-flowering bulbs and perennials, The RHS London plant and design show is fast approaching again (19th and 20th February), where Crug Farm, Avon Bulbs (above) and many other nurseries will be exhibiting and selling many a tempting plant. After such a damp and miserable winter, I’ll definitely be making the trip for a joyful taste of things to come.

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Camelia sasanqua

I’m not a great Camellia fan. I find their dark evergreen foliage can be relentlessly gloomy, especially in our winter months. But when you’re greeted in a garden by these playful blooms, you can’t help but feel uplifted. I’m strangely enchanted by their offbeat flappy petals and their in-your-face winter colour. And when the sun does shine, they have a gentle, slightly cloying (heading towards mothballs) scent, which is no doubt great for early pollinators.

Camellia sasanqua flower after the snow in January

A week later, and these brilliant blooms haven’t survived the snow,

Camellia sasanqua flower opening in January

but new buds have toughed it out, and are ready to put on a show once more. And despite myself, I’m finding it difficult not to love ‘em.

Here’s a great article by Noel Kingsbury on how and where to grow Camellia sasanqua, with a helpful list of Camellia nurseries too.

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