In a Vase on Monday- Sweet scented flowers and shrubs.

For the past few weeks my bedside table has contained little jam jars of water, into which small posies of “twigs” have been placed. Never have I been so grateful for a garden full of winter-flowering shrubs. For the twigs are smothered with tiny flowers- bursting with scent. Top of my list of favourites is Sarcococca Purple Stem, also known as sweet box. This one, in a pot by my front door, has shiny evergreen leaves and pink and white spidery flowers. A joy at any time between December and March, but particularly welcome when you are stuck in bed with the flu.

Here’s a quick peek in my potting shed. I’m sad to report that I’ve only managed to visit the potting shed twice since Christmas. Something I intend to remedy now that I’m up and about and almost, but not quite, back to normal.

The sugar pink flowers are Viburnum Dawn. In the centre there’s Hamamelis Jelena, and on the right, winter flowering honeysuckle, Lonicera purpusii. There’s also some daphne and to add more cheer, pussy willow catkins and hazel or corylus “lambs tails.” The Hamamelis was a bargain basement purchase for just a few pounds, but didn’t have any labels. Cathy – who hosts the IAVOM meme – writes about Hamamelis this week and I learned that Jelena is named after Mrs Jelena De Belder, and Diane is named after her daughter. You can read all about Cathy’s Hamamelis collection Here .

Covered with snow, it looks spectacular. The delicate scent is noticeable on a sunny day, or when twigs are brought into a warm room. I think the yellow- flowering Hamamelis have perhaps a stronger scent though.

Just getting into its stride is Daphne odora Aureomarginata. When fully open this will scent the whole garden and perfume will drift through open windows and in through the front door.

In my vase this week I’ve added some hellebore Jacob which has been in flower since mid- December. And also some hyacinths. These were prepared bulbs planted and put in a cold, dark cupboard in the potting shed for 10 weeks and then grown on in a polytunnel for another 22 days. Gradually I brought them into a warmer room as they came into flower. Slow, cool growing conditions ensures the flower bud forms properly, and prolongs the display.

I love the velvet blue colour and white edge. I’ll plant the bulbs out in the garden when I’ve harvested the flowers.

Here’s a pot I forgot about. I’ve only just taken it out of the dark cupboard and you can see the bulbs are really well rooted. The roots are climbing out of the sides. And the flower spikes are well formed. These are going to be pure white. Something to look forward to over the coming weeks, a good two or three months before the ones in the garden start to flower.

Hiding amongst the flowers are some stems of Pelargonium Tomentosum from the heated greenhouse. The hairy leaves have a lovely fresh minty scent when they are crushed.

On my potting shed window are little terracotta pots of honey-scented snowdrops, flowering a few weeks earlier than the ones in the ground. The Sankey pots came from my Grandad Ted Foulds. I love to use them and think that he held them in his hands. It’s a reminder of happy times. He loved visiting my garden each week and giving me hints and tips on what to grow and how. I still miss him. But I have his garden tools and his plant pots. And my whole garden is planted with little seedlings and divisions from his garden. So I feel as if he is still here with me really, keeping an eye on me and my family. I like to think so anyway.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting IAVOM meme. Go over and have a look at what Cathy is putting in her vase this week, and then have a look what others are growing and cutting from their gardens – all around the world. It’s a fascinating story and one I love being a part of.

40 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday- Sweet scented flowers and shrubs.

  1. Oh it sounds as if your get up and go is slowly but surely returning Karen 🙂 Those little jam jars of winter loveliness must have aided your recovery. Hope that you will be making more journeys into the big outdoors as each day passes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Anna. Those jam jars of small treasures were a real lifeline! If I leaned out of the bedroom window I could see a large patch of early-flowering snowdrops, which also cheered me up no end! I’m pottering about in the greenhouse and poly tunnel now, building up strength each day. Thanks for reading and for getting in touch. Love karen x


    • Oh, thanks very much for your kind comments. I must admit, my garden scented shrubs have been a lifeline these last few weeks. Such dreadful cold damp weather. Well, the scented geraniums are particularly prone to the cold and damp. You could try making a light box for them by covering a three-sided box with foil and putting them on a south facing window. Hold off on the watering until temperatures start to rise. I’ve been sent some grow lights to try out. I will report back if they are any good for geraniums. Keep me posted Cathy. Thanks for reading and for getting in touch. It’s much appreciated. Karen x


  2. I am so glad you are on the mend Karen. The flowers of January are so cheering and specially the scented ones. Some snowdrops are deliciously scented when you bring them inside. What a lovely rich colour that hyacinth is. I visited Easton Walled Garden last summer, what a beautiful place to work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Chloris. I have a little corner of my garden that I call Easton corner. All the snowdrops I bought at the sales are in flower today. Such a happy reminder of a lovely time there 🙂 xx


  3. Karen is glad that you and your mother are a little better. The photos are magnificent. The Sarcoccocca Purple Stem is beautiful. The bouquet of flowers is really marvellous: the Hellebore Jacinto is divine and the Hyacinth with its beautiful color is beautiful; and the branches of Hamamelis and the rest is very beautiful. You are already taking the reins of the Hyacinth: thank you very much for explaining how you do it to have them in flower so soon and so precious. Honey-scented Snowdrops are beautiful and even more so when they are in the pots of your beloved grandfather who taught you so much gardening. Yes. Watch over you and your family, do not hesitate. My best wishes so that you and your Mother will finish healing completely as soon as possible. Much endearing affection for both. Greetings with love of Margarita. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Margarita. Sorry for the delay replying. I’ve been to stay with my mum for a few days. All’s well now, fortunately. Well after such a bad start to 2018, things are looking up and if I can build my strength up there are lots of lovely things to look forward to. Thanks again for all your kind comments. Have a lovely week. Greetings and love to you are your family, from karen and Mum xx


      • Karen please do not ask me for forgiveness. Is your mother in better health? If it is better, it is the only thing that matters. Karen I hope that little by little you recover your strength, but without hurry. Much love for your Mother and for you. Greetings from Margarita. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am pleased that you are able to surround yourself with such fragrant winter beauties, Karen. That sarcococca is very pretty with its dark stem and pinkish flowers – and what a wonderful dark blue the hyacinth is! Is the hamamelis definitely Jelena (you said it had no labels)? It almost looks too orange in the picture. Snowdrops looks so effective in little clay pots like this with their moss scarves, don’t they? Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, neither did I until I worked at Easton Walled Gardens and got the chance to spend a lot of time outdoors amongst snowdrops. On a sunny day there’s the most wonderful waft of honey scent floating up from the valley. Thanks for reading 🙂 x


  5. So lovely to have some winter flowers! I really like the smell of Hamamelis, though I don´t have one myself. However, at the moment they sell Hamamelis at garden centres and I enjoy the scent there. You´re right – the yellow ones seem to have a stronger fragrance. I compared the fragrance of a ruby red one and a yellow one at a garden centre and the ruby red one´s smell was much lighter. I also really like your snowdrop display. The snowdrops look lovely in that pot with the moss!
    Enjoy your blooms!
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lisa. I’ve got a baby Hamamelis Arnold Promise in the front garden which has a lovely scent. I keep looking at the ones in the garden centre which are more established, but the price keeps deterring me. So far! I might succumb though yet 🙂


    • Thank you Derrick. That’s kind of you. I must admit, now I’m up and about and regaining my strength I’m trekking back and forth to that daphne several times a day to check on the flower progress. I’ve stationed a garden bench right next to it for when it comes into full bloom. It’s one of the wonderful treats to look forward to, even when the weather is cold. Thanks for reading and for getting in touch. Very best wishes. Karen

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mike. Finally I’m on the mend. Mum and I have both had a few setbacks with illness since Christmas. But we think we are on the up now. Thanks for reading and for your kind comments. All the best. Karen xx


    • Thank you Anne. I’m sure those scented shrubs made a difference to keeping my spirits up. I have had a bit of a battle on my hands since Christmas, but I’m up and about now and just in time to see the snowdrops opening in the sunshine. What a joy the garden is. Hope you are doing well and that your garden soon emerges from the winter weather. Glad to hear snow has melted. I fear we have more to come.All the best, karen xx


    • Thank you Eliza. So kind of you to say so. Glad you enjoyed the winter flowers. I’m watching the snowdrops open before my eyes here as temperatures have risen to 13C. Amazing. I can walk about without my hat, scarf, gloves for the first time. All,the best. Karen xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh what a shame. I must admit, they do make the heart sing. Such a lovely sign that spring is not too far away. You will have to share mine. I’ll post more photos soon. I can’t wait until the catkins are fully open and are humming with bumble bees. All the best. Karen


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