Semi-evergreen Shrub. Flowers April-May. Height 2.5m
For most of the year this is a fairly unremarkable shrub, but when it flowers in April and May, it is the star of the garden. When in bud, the flowers are delicately edged with pink and when open they have the most exquisite scent – it’s a pity it can’t be bottled! Plant near a path or doorway to make the most of the fabulous fragrance.
The Cotswold village of Ilmington is eight miles south of Stratford upon Avon. Lying at the foot of the Ilmington Downs, it is the highest village in Warwickshire.
At this time of year, when the sun is actually shining, it is incredibly strong. The temperature in the greenhouse rises rapidly and plants, young seedlings in particular, are vulnerable to scorching. I noticed yesterday that several of my seedlings have been burnt in the greenhouse. Fortunately I had already ordered some shade netting and thankfully it turned up today.
I have always admired topiary hedges clipped into animals, people or other sculptural shapes. So I decided to clip one of my box hedges into a topiary man. His eyes and buttons are dried Eryngium seed heads.
When it snows, we have a ready-made snowman!
Trench Hill, Sheepscombe, Gloucestershire is a three acre garden with amazing views of the surrounding Cotswold countryside.
The wild primrose is pale yellow with a darker yellow centre and is commonly found on banks and in woodland clearings. It’s name means ‘first rose’ and is also known as ‘Easter Rose’, although it is not a member of the rose family. When you see it flowering, it is a sure sign that spring is on the way. The flowers are edible. Easy to grow and will self seed. Perennial, flowers March-April
The brightly coloured primroses sold in garden centres are cultivars and are treated as annuals.
Although we are just into autumn, now is the time to think about spring flowers in your garden. Daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and crocuses are widely available right now and will give you a stunning display for very little cost and effort. There is something quite uplifting about the thought that in a few months these lifeless, uninteresting shapes will herald the start of a new gardening year.