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Scents and sensibility

Updated: Feb 9

I know, an awful pun of which I'm sure Ms Austen would not approve. But few can argue that scent at this time of the year is a welcome treat. I'm hoping that the three tiny Christmas Box (Sarcococca) plants we purchased online a couple of years ago as even tinier plants will this year release a disproportionately huge amount of scent into the Walled Garden this festive tide, but time will tell.

Our large Mahonia, on the other hand, is looking splendid at the moment with its racemes of bright yellow. Mahonia has a delicate scent but our plant, well - tree, is so high that really only winter-flying insects can savour its honey scent! Cut it back, I hear you say, but the corky bark of Mahonia looks wonderful at this time of the year and we do, where possible, allow shrubs to reach their full potential where possible.

But star performers for me at the moment are the Viburnum bodnantense plants that grow in the Woodland and on the West side of the house. On a calm day, their delicious scent covers some distance from the plants. We have two shades of V. bodnantense, a light (almost white) as well as a darker one, little pom-poms of florets peppering the bare stems of the plant.

For those visited by deer and rabbits, this is an ideal plant, as the stems, leaves and sap give off a rather nasty odour. But don't be put off; you don't get this unless you cut or touch the plant.

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