Garden School:

Garden School:
Teaching this week: Nothing: my Trainee is on holiday!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Frost, dead plants and winter scent

Yes, it was frosty this morning, so I didn't start work until 9am. But within half an hour, the jacket was off, the fleece was off, and it was warm, warm, warm.

Today, to make a change from weeding the prairie beds, the client asked me to remove two dead hebes from under the kitchen window. Had to admit that I'd looked at them last week and thought how horrible they looked... it turns out that the client inherited them with the house, and has never liked them.

Out they came! It always amazes me that garden owners will put up with something they really don't like, just because it was there before they were? I suppose it's good to give strange plants a chance, rather than ripping everything out every time you move, but if you simply don't like a particular shrub/tree/plant, then it's your garden, change it!

Talking of moving, it has been so long since I moved house that I have had to start re-painting the back garden fences. Good heavens! I've never lived anywhere longer than 3 years, prior to moving into this house, and now I've been here so long that my blue fences have paled to - well, sort of greeny brown. I didn't realise how tatty they were until my neighbour's hedge pushed over the fence on that side, and he had to rebuild it: he re-used all the old slats, which is very eco, but put them back up in a different order, so they all had strips that weren't painted (by me) blue.  It looked awful, so I had to repaint that side: and then it really made the next section look tatty! And so it goes.

So I spent a lovely couple of hours out there, slapping blue fence paint about.

Now a question: I do love getting questions. Feel free to email me if you have one.

A question from Bristol: Can you suggest a late winter flowering shrub that is scented?

Yes, in a word, Lonicera fragrantissima. Great name, just rolls off the tongue...

Lonicera is the honeysuckle family, and this is a shrubby honeysuckle: it doesn't climb, it sends up strong arching shoots that reach six feet in height after a few years.

Through late winter into spring, the branches are covered in these fabulous white flowers - they are still flowering now, by the way, and it's nearly the end of March, so it gives good value.

On a still day, the scent just wafts across the garden, lovely.

I even have a couple of them for sale! (See my website for details...)



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