Friday, 6 February 2015

Winter Scented Plants

I am Vanessa, a Trained Gardener 
from Capel Manor College. 

I love Spring time and need to
feel a connection with the Earth. 

I need to feel free and in touch with nature.

Being from a Gardening family originally
 in Scotland I have so much 
knowledge I want to share with you all. 

I need to feel a connection to living plants and 
what they can bring us in so many ways. 

I love being creative as this is what
a real Gardener is. 

I hope very much you will enjoy my blog. 

Please do hook in and take from 
this all that you need. 

We all need to share in this amazing 
bounty that we have all around us. 

I love to draw the shapes of leaves
and the contours they have. 

Painting and Gardening 
are all the the same. 

A form of Art. We need the 
seasons to give us hope
 and inspiration.

How's about getting up close and 
personal with me and learning step 
by step how to create a 'garden space'
of your own

I really want to share with you the fun 
that any kind of Gardening can bring us 
at any age, any stage of life and whatever

size your plot is. It is really something
that we all aspire to in some shape
or form and sometimes we simply need
that little bit of encouragement and 
guidance to start off. So here goes.


It is that time of year when we really 
should be hibernating. 

Instead we are wrapped
up and eating lots of nourishing 
foods to get by. 

But now is the time we need
 to plan the 
season ahead of us.

What can we plant? Where can
 it be planted? In what container 
or position to show it off to its best?

This is very important but 
first of all I am  giving you some 
easy ideas to start you off. 

My first theme is 'scented plants' 
so please  do read on and see 
where I am taking you.

This Vibernum


is sweetly scented



Firstly there is a huge 
range of scented plants available and
so much choice where to buy them. 

We need something to lift our spirits
when the cold hits us.

Scented plants come in all sizes and 
there really is something for everyone.

Vibernum in flower in April

I am going to start with 
medium sized plants. 

One of my favourites
 is called Sarcococca -

Sweet Box. 

It doesn't have 
particularly attractive
leaves, but are similar
 to 'box' which is so often
used in topiary. 


Beautiful berries
on Sarcococca in April

It is a winner in my book. 
From December onwards this
 shrub produces
the most amazingly scented tiny flowers, 
which to be honest look quite insignificant.

They sort of appear underneath 
the leaves initially and are hard to get to. 
They are white
spiky looking flowers.

I have a lovely one I planted 
in a large plastic pot 
ages ago and it has given 
lots of winter pleasure.

When I need a pick me up, 
I bend down to smell its  
heavenly scent. 

I'm transported  
to some tropical island. 

It is fabulous.

Have I convinced you that anyone 
at all can grow  and look after one with 
the minimum amount of care?

So you need to buy a healthy 
specimen  from a good
source, plant it up in some 
multi purpose compost,

a little water and give it some love. 
How simple is that?

Give it a go and let me know how you go 
with it. Oh and by the way it is a good idea 
to talk to your plants. They do appreciate it. 

They do bring us a lot of joy in return.

I am also going to talk about Evergreen shrubs 
in this blog as these plants are all evergreen.

What is an evergreen shrub? 

It is really simple,
it is a shrub, which does not loose its leaves 
in winter. 

So for example a conifer is evergreen,  
a bamboo is evergreen. 
Are you with me so far?

Part of my


Bamboo hedge

Why do we want evergreen shrubs? 

Well it is a plant which
 will give all year 
round colour. 

It will not shed its leaves 
which means there is 
always something 
to look at in the winter months.

It is very important when 
choosing plants
to take this into account. 
I have some lovely
small shrubs I planted
 which are deciduous

so in this part of the winter, 
(November to around March) 
there is nothing to look at other 
than bare branches.

This is in hindsight, an error 
but Gardening is all about 
planning your plot properly. 

So we all learn by our 
mistakes and hopefully it makes
 us better and more 
organised Gardeners.

So the effect of green shrubs around 
us gives a kind of backbone. 
It also is very calming 
to our busy minds. 

This evergreen box shrub


 is happy on chalk soil.

 Evergreens will give structure to a Garden 
space. Another example is a hedge of bamboo
which will draw your eye to it and it is pleasing
to look at. 

You can get a soft effect with bamboo; 
it is something that rustles in the breeze. 
It also creates a great screen.

How do you know what plant is best 
for your plot. Well it depends on what
you are trying to achieve.

How much space you really have and 
the type of soil conditions you have 

Yes Gardening is quite involved as you will start to read
more of my blog. 

But worry not I am here to guide you. 
So do ask as many questions as you like. 
We Gardeners have lots of tricks up
our sleeve!

More about that a bit later.

Here are some examples of some 
really easy to grow evergreen shrubs.

Choisya - buds forming April

This is a lovely mid green shrub 
which can be grown
in a good sized pot and is really attractive. 

It can grow quite big but if space is limited
 then a pot it fine.

You can always re pot into something 
bigger later on. 

Why am I telling you this? 

Well in my opinion we really want
 plants that look good as a 
stand alone specimen. 

But we do need plants in groups 
as well. (more on that later on).


They need to give a bit of 'character', 
 that will stand out. It's colour, 
its shape, its flowers, 
 its scent and is it easy to look after?

Choisya also has small 
white sweetly scented flowers. 

They may take time to appear, 
so as with all Gardening
we need to be patient. 
If you crush the leaves they give 
off a really unusual aroma.

I have one planted in my Garden 
and it took 
some years to really grow to a 
reasonable size
and to produce these beautiful flowers. 

It was infact too overcrowded by 
taller shrubs but 
now has come into its own.

They really are worthwhile. Do please give it a go. 
Plant in a good  
sized nice terracotta pot, big enough
 for the roots to spread in and
plant in multi purpose compost. 

Check the compost details first.

If you have the space plant 
it in the ground. (Soil types are  very 
important so more on that later on).

Daphne odora 

This is a small evergreen shrub. 
It has a nice round shape. 

It's leaves are glossy green 
with a margin of yellow.

Their flowers are small and 
very fragrant,  flowering around 
mid December. They are a light pink 
and will flower until at least March.

This is one of many species but its 
unusual leaves are attractive as 
well and a lovely contrast to the flowers.


This is an attractive and also 
hardy evergreen shrub. 
It will give colour for most of the year.  

The flowers are kind of bud like for 
some time and found in the middle of the leaves. 

This is very attractive.

They form in Autumn and then finally
 in the spring will open up to 
form scented red flowers.

The flowers are a good contrast 
to the dark green foliage. 

They will flower in around April to May. 
They are quite slow growing.

Some varieties also produce small 
berries after flowering. 

There are 
many varieties and look good in nice 
glazed pots of a contrasting colour.

They really are easy to grow in a pot. 

Perhaps several together to make
a nice display on a doorstep or on a patio.

Small winter flowering plants

Now I want to share with you some delightful 
but small flowering plants.

Hellebores. They are one of my favourite 
flowers in the winter months.

They are small and compact and really 
not that hard to look after. 
More on that a little later on.

Helleborus niger are pure white. 
They are a real winter delight and are 
ever so slightly scented. 

These are usually the earliest 
varieties to flower 
but there are so many to choose 
from and so many real beauties.


They will flower from December 
until March, 
so you get a lot of flower 
for your money. They grow to approximately
 30cm upwards in height.

Helleborus Niger
Hellebore happy planted
 in shade.

 The leaves are intriguing
as they unfold


Helleborus x hybrids are stunning. 
Ashwood sunset shades are beautiful.

If you go for hybrids they form a good 'clump' 
of foliage. They will flower late in the winter
and also in spring.

This sounds a bit complicated 
but if you choose an evergreen 
hellebore such as Helleborus 
angustifolius that will be a good buy.

There are also summer 
flowering hellebores - 
go for 
'helleborus hybridus'. 

It will have lovely healthy foliage 
all summer. 

Its flowers will form in late winter.


Brand new growth

They do struggle in some soils 
as I discovered so it is a lot easier 
to grow Hellebores in a 

terracotta pot and in the right 
kind of compost.

There are varieties which 
have 'green flowers.' 

They are very pretty in
 their own right.

They like a rich soil and 
perfect drainage.

Keep them sheltered to 
protect them. 

Need lots of light during 
the winter and the spring. 

Some shade needed in the 
summer months.

Violas and Pansies

Some of you may really want even 
smaller plants for your winter display. 

These bring lots of colour in the 
shape of tiny winter flowering 
violas or pansies. 

They are delightful and cheery 
and so cheap
to buy that it is really worth 
a colourful show
of them on your doorstep. 

In a nice colourful 
pot or even in a hanging 
wall bag packed with colour. 

They are all colours, 
deep purple,white and delightful.


The winter flowering pansies
 are a lot bigger and in my 
opinion not half as appealing. 

Any good Garden Centre 
will stock them in trays so you 
should find a good selection.

These tiny violas loving the sun





I have to say that these are 
one of my all time favourites. 

They really do it for me
 in their neat compactness 
and colour during the 
winter months.

They really are easy to care 
for but do still give them 
love and care and they 
will win you over.


I think a small group of them on your 
front doorstep is always welcoming. 
I would go for white, 
deep red and 
perhaps pink. 

I would plant up in 
terracotta pots which 
will give them enough space 
to feel comfortable in. 

Or perhaps all together
 in a colourful glazed pot.

There are so many varieties available 
so have a good look around first.

I personally feel that the small flowered 
cyclamen are the best of the bunch. 

There are much larger plants with
big blowsy flowers and personally
they do nothing for me.

Once you have planted them 
up don't forget to water them. 

Not too much
but enough so the soil is 
no longer dry. 

Keep them watered as 
any plants
in pots will dry out very quickly 
even at this time of the year. 

Shop around, 
be adventurous.

Have dainty red pendulous
 flowers in winter.

Cyclamen, pretty little cyclamen
Don't be shy and hide your

Cyclamen with beautiful
leaves all year round

The Artist in me wants
to paint them.

Primroses and Primulas

These delightful plants are here to help 
us remember that spring is not so 
far away. They are very easy to care
 for and come in all sorts of colours. 

Primroses tend to be pale yellow and
some are slightly scented. Some 
are a pale pink which is a nice 
alternative such as this one below.


Such a delight this self-
seeded primrose.


Love this deep red primrose
which also self-seeded.

 Dainty deep red
small and concise 

Cultivated primulas are 
a lot brighter in colour and to 
me less appealing. 

They are small and compact 
and can make a pretty display 
anywhere you have a little amount 
of space. 
Give it a go.


Small compact
scented primula

Much less appealing
but pretty colours

Spring Primorses in shady
 part of my Garden

New Topic
Containers and Planters

There is a huge array of planters out there. 
What do you choose and how do
you know where to buy from?

There are wooden planters, barrels, 
troughsand so much out there. 

If I tell you what I do perhaps you 
can get some kind
of an idea what is best for 
what type of plant.

This tin pot is a perfect size
planted up with a purple basil.

Two ideal small pots for
any small plants

Found these colourful pots
 in back of potting shed. 

I Love Terracotta pots as it is part
 of me and my
creative side. My European roots. 

That cooked earth colour which
 is so part of the Mediterranean.

See the way the glaze
catches the sunlight.

 I tend to go for less expensive pots which have
a nice shape to them. For example a round small
herb pot with curved edges will be perfect for this. 

Sometimes if they are getting a bit faded I like to 
brighten them up by painting then. I like planters
that are practical as well and pretty. 

But when choosing Terracotta, 
(the lovely 
deed reddish colour), 
it is be best to go for
a good make as there are 
such differences
in quality.

If you buy middle of the range
 pots you should be fine. 

No more than 
£5.00 - 7.00 for a nice
 small plain pot. 

I can give you some places 
to try but have a look at 
good quality Garden Centres 
or Suppliers of good 

Also remember that firstly the 
climate in the United Kingdom
is not great for nice things
 so they need to be 
frost proof and a bit 
tougher to cope.

So check what the labels say.  


Left pot for hanging
 on a fence


Troughs are great as you can place 
them on a window sill or two or
on an old wall, so that when it is time 
to plant up 
with colour you can 

use the wall as a stage and then fill 
with trailing plants. 

But for a good
effect it can look better if you have 
several of them spaced out.

Large trough I mosaiced 

Glazed terracotta
pot with tin pots

Gardening and planting is a bit of an Art. 

I feel if you are going to do
it properly, have some nice looking 
troughs of terracotta or of stoneware

and then plant with colourful and 
cheerful plants that work well to show 

them off. Be artistic, have a go. 

It is not a disaster if it doesn't work just
as you like first time round. 
It is all about experimenting.

It is a bit like clothes. If you 
have a smart outfit
 you need smart shoes to
go with it or it doesn't really work. 

Troughs are more sturdy and 
less likely to break, but do have a 
good look 
around at what is available. 

A nice little set I found
in an antique shop


Perfect small seed tray
 and small pots

I love the warm colours
of this pot.

Such a perfect
shine it has.

Pots of colour
Pots of joy
Pots of textured gritty soil
Pots and Pots and Pots
I love all kinds of pots

Sping to me is primroses, 

all shades of yellow.

Look closer at the beautiful 
leaves as they all unfurl.

Cyclamen have such designs 
all over their leaves

This barrel is a handy size
planted up with chives


Mini Gardens UK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

What a wonderful blog ! Very interesting x

Mini Gardens UK said...

Thank you to all my kind followers who have read my blog and for all the lovely comments.
Please do post up any gardening questions you have and I will happily reply as soon as possible.