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A scratch and sniff blog would be cool.

I could share the joys of working in the garden with you.  Alas my invention skills are not up to the job and so you will have to use your imagination and try to feel the aroma, if anyone can truly feel an aroma.

This is Daphne odora and she smells wonderful.

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I seem to be surprised that it is March already, I am not sure why that is, but March is here and I managed to do a whole day in the garden yesterday.  I noticed that there are rather too many jobs waiting to be done, odd as a couple of weeks ago most things seemed under control.  Perhaps because it is now March, or more likely, as we have had little or no frost, a number of plants are going great guns, not least the weeds and it all needs tending to.

I started in the woodland area of the garden which smells heavenly thanks to the heady floral wafts from the Daphne odora aureomarginata.   (See this is where the scratch and sniff would be great).  This is some shrub, evergreen and approximately 1.5m x 1.5m with waxy pale green leaves and creamy margins.  It looks nothing special most of the time until in early Spring, dark pink flower buds appear, opening to the palest pink, almost white tiny flowers which emerge together with a powerful scent which sits on the air and reaches the nose in wafts.  It is a great plant to have in a garden as its aroma is so noticeable.  Daphne favours free draining soil and is really one of those plants that will grow quite well enough in dry shade. It is hardy, but in very cold Winters, it will benefit from a sheltered site.  It is not a shrub which can moved, preferring not to have its roots disturbed.

So treated to weak sunshine and perfumed air I was quite content going about the task of pruning the various Buddleia davidii.

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These are all many years old and generally every two or three years I take a pruning saw and lower the plant to about 0.5m.  This seems quite drastic but helps maintain the size of the plant which ensures that the flowers and, more importantly any butterflies, can be enjoyed at eye level.


I took these two photographs last September and with these images in my mind, I reckon it is worth taking the time to look after the common old butterfly bush.  This year the heavy driving rain has washed away much of the soil from the banks and a couple of the Buddleia were  rocking slightly in the ground and some of the roots were exposed.  Next job will be to apply a really thick layer of mulch around the bases to help replace what has washed away.

Hardy Fushias have not blackened and are actually putting on new leaves. I shall leave these for another month before I chop them back into a better shape, just in case we get a cold snap.  Usually at this time of the year I would expect to see them looking quite dead, just sticks to indicate where once the pendulous red blooms had hung.

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March is also the time to prune the coloured stems of Dogwoods to ensure a good display for next Winter.  The two types in the woodland are are Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ and Cornus sanguinea ‘MidWinter Fire’. Midwinter fire is a great orange/ yellow tone with red tips and will fill an area with its suckering growth, however on our thin soil above chalk, they are not as vigorous as they otherwise could be.  Cornus alba ‘sibirica’ is a really bright red stemmed Dogwood growing to about 2m x2m.  In the woodland garden they have successfully filled in an area where others have failed, beneath fully grown Scots pines.

There are fallen leaves sat in the dips and grooves of the flower beds, I know that I have cleared these already and yet still there are leaves to be teased out with the rake. There are signs of life from those thug weeds such as nettles and ground Elder.  Before they take hold, this is a good time to tackle them, whilst you can still see what you are doing. With all the rain that we have had, the soil has compacted and so I tickled over the surface with my fork to improve the look and texture of the ground.  At ground level, whilst clearing out the debris the air has a gentle honey like scent from the snowdrops which are in abundance along the woodland path.

Some shrubs which are looking good now include Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ which are flowering and looking especially healthy.  These grow well on most soils and are largely evergreen.  They grow 1.5m to 2.5m height and spread and I have left my rake in the picture to let you see the scale.  I find these rather dull most of the year but they are useful as a screen or hedge but I do not like how they smell, a slight sour cat like odour.  Maybe that’s just me but I do find the smell off putting. Good job the scratch and sniff doesn’t work after all. At close quarters the flower clusters are rather pretty and perhaps redeem themselves.ick house mar 14 011ick house mar 14 010


Finally I shall leave you with the sight of Berberis darwinii in all it glorious colour.  It has no scent to share under my scratch and sniff effect and it is a devil to work on as it is very prickly.  Looks fab though. Hope you are feeling inspired to get out there and get on with it.

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