So, another gardening season draws to a close – as usual, some successes, some failures. Our runner beans were a triumph, the cosmos flowered and flowered, but the tomatoes were a disaster and the cherries were all eaten by the birds. But, we’ll all be ready to do it again next Spring, and next year we’ll get everything right ……
Once the nights begin to draw in and Jack Frost starts to nip at your fingertips, most gardeners start the winter wind down, put the tools away and hunker down for the cold wet months ahead. But there is no need to completely abandon the garden. A little bit of forward planning this Autumn and you can create a really lovely scented area, where, when the weather is with you, you’ll be able to sit and walk amongst hardy fragrant plants.
One of my favourites for some off-season scent is Viburnum Bodnantense, this is a tall deciduous shrub that carries beautiful rose-coloured flowers on the bare stems. The varieties to look for are ‘Dawn’ and ‘Charles Lamont’. The flowers appear in late October and will keep blooming well into next Spring. Like all Viburnums, this variety is tough and no-nonsense, and grows well in our alkaline soil. The dark green/ bronze tinted leaves appear in early Spring – this really is a great shrub for Winter fragrance.
Sarcococca (Christmas Box) should be a definite addition to your Winter garden. With evergreen, glossy pointed leaves, this family produces beautiful cream/white flowers that emit a rich, sweet scent. There are a number of varieties, all are recommended to perform well in the cold, wet months.
The Skimmia family really are a ‘must have’ addition. One slight problem with them is, left to their own devices, the rich green foliage can begin to look a little pale after a few months in our chalky soil. However, this is easily remedied by feeding with a liquid ericaceous fertiliser. Skimmia are not anti- alkaline, but they do need a little acid balance to keep that healthy dark green look. Skimmia will give you a blast of red berries in early Winter, then fragrant clusters of creamy white flowers. This family will happily grow in shade.
And don’t forget the Spring flowering bulbs – many are fragrant, particularly Tulips, Narcissi, Hyacinth and Muscari. These should be planted between September and the end of the year.
This is the time to change the bedding scheme in your garden. The Summer geraniums, begonias etc have had a long season, and will begin to look tired. So, as the frost finishes them off, replace them with Winter pansies, Violas and Primoses.
see you soon,
Simon, Alison, Edith the Jack Russell and all at Askett Nurseries.