Gardening Magazine

Monday Flowers – Scents of Spring

By Julie King
Spring is feeling a very long way off. Here in the UK January, February and often March bring the coldest weather and with it usually a few days or even weeks of snow. Despite the cold the garden starts to feel the pulse of spring as soon as the days begin to lengthen - the first blossom on the Prunus autumnalis rosea, the strongly scented pink flowers opening on Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn' and the first snowdrops emerging from the often wet and sometimes frozen ground all remind me that spring is on her way.Monday Flowers – Scents of SpringAt this time of year most of my indoor arrangements rely heavily on bare branches, dried flower heads and the paperwhite narcissi which are flowering in my greenhouse. Now that the Christmas decorations have been packed away there are quite a few empty spots around my house which I decided to fill today with pots of emerging bulbs. As well as beautiful flowers I will have spring scents to cheer me up on cold gray days. As always I am linking my Monday flower faffing to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. Cathy is the one who encourages us to think creatively every week and get out in our gardens whatever the weather to find something to bring inside.Monday Flowers – Scents of SpringBack in September I planted up terracotta pots of hyacinths, crocus and muscari which I placed outside my greenhouse and just before Christmas I planted the second batch of paperwhite narcissi in my greenhouse bed. The September planted bulbs were doing very well until a rabbit (or a family of rabbits) found them and nipped off the emerging leaves! I am hoping that the flower buds were well covered and I quickly took all the pots inside the greenhouse. Without any additional heat these will flower just a week or two before the same bulbs in my flower beds and they will provide a nice display for my outdoor tables. To speed things up I have decided to bring some of the bulbs inside so have literally very carefully dug emerging bulbs out of their pots and the greenhouse beds to replant them in my indoor containers. I will photograph them again in a week or two so that you can see how they develop.Monday Flowers – Scents of Spring Monday Flowers – Scents of SpringThese beautiful viburnum blooms are a winter favourite of mine. I planted 3 bushes together about 5 years ago and they are finally growing into a large tall shrub which is covered in scented pink flowers on bare branches throughout late winter and early spring. When the winter sun warms the flowers the rich sweet fragrance will catch you unawares as it seems such an unlikely scent in the depths of the winter months.Monday Flowers – Scents of SpringAnother of my winter essentials is Prunus autumnalis rosea - the winter flowering cherry. The blossom is nothing like the overblown frou frou flowers of a spring flowering cherry. These flowers are so delicate they are almost ghost like relations of their spring cousins, but fragile they are not. This blossom stands up to rain and wind and even when the elements do damage the flowers another batch of buds will soon take over. My single tree was only planted 18 months ago and is tiny, but I am looking forward to watching it grow into an adult that will make a real statement in the winter months. For now I am just allowing myself a meagre branch or two to enjoy inside but one day I hope to be able to cut freely whenever this tree is in flower.Monday Flowers – Scents of SpringMonday Flowers – Scents of Spring It has taken me a few weeks to get my act together after the holiday festivities. I have been easing into 2019 very gently with lots of reading, a little tidying and much planning for this years growing season. Workshops for this year are in the diary and full details should be on my Workshop page soon. Gather & Grow Tulips will be on 24th April, Roses on 18th June and Dahlias on 17th September. As always we will be spending the morning in my Cutting Garden talking about choosing and growing these beautiful flowers. In a change to previous years we will then make the short journey to Brigitte's house (Brigitte@mossandstone) to spend the afternoon making arrangements in her gorgeous new workroom and enjoying her garden. A delicious light lunch will be served and there will be plenty of tea, coffee and cake to keep you going. You may have seen Brigitte's very beautiful and creative work in the Telegraph just before Christmas and increasingly she is involved in collaborations with some of the most famous florists, so I feel very lucky to be able to continue to work with her on our Gather & Grow collaborations. All Gather & Grow workshops will be £295 this year, which is a very reasonable price when you consider the cost of many of the workshops Brigitte is involved in. Places are limited and go quickly once we announce these dates on Instagram so if you are interested email me at [email protected], DM me on Instagram or leave a comment below. This year we are looking to add a few new courses to our Gather & Grow favourites and I am excited to tell you about the first which will be Gather & Grow Your Instagram on 30th April. For this course we will be working with Paula from Hill House Vintage, an up and coming vintage and interiors enthusiast and Instagram star. While Brigitte and I help you with styling and photographing a lovely selection of flowers and props Paula will be sharing all her Instagram knowledge to help you make the most of your Instagram experience. At the end of the day you will leave with some new Instagrammable images, a fully prepared story to share on your Instagram stories and a notebook full of ideas to help develop your account. As far as my garden is concerned the only jobs that have been done this year are to prune the espalier trees in the cutting garden ( these should have been done in the summer but it was just too hot), ordering seeds for the cutting garden and sowing the first sweet peas seeds for summer flowers. My autumn sown indoor sweet peas are already romping away up their supports in my greenhouse, so I am optimistic that I will have sweet peas for picking in early spring. I am not a big one for new year resolutions, but I have set an intention to return to growing vegetables this year. Although I have let my vegetable growing slip as my passion for flowers has increased, really I know there is no treat like home grown food and it is so good for both our health and the environment. I am making fresh plans and will be sharing more in February when seed sowing gets underway. So happy new year to all my readers and happy gardening - I hope your garden gives you everything you wish for this year! 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