Winter springs into life at The Hidden Gardens

Winter 2014 in The Hidden Gardens

Top Row Corylus avellana (Hazel catkins)

Middle Row (l-r) Iris foetidissima seed pods (Stinking Iris), Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ (Witch Hazel)

Bottom Row (l-r) Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrops), Hamamelis mollis (Witch Hazel), Sarcocca confuse (Sweet Box)

Although it’s still January, the weather has been relatively mild and things are springing into life. Look closely and keep senses alert to discover bright splashes of colour and gorgeous scents.

We expect snowdrops to be popping up through the leaf litter in January, but the unusually mild winter has thrown up some early signs of Spring, such as the hazel catkins.

Walk down the White seat area and look out for the inconspicuous, very sweetly scented, creamy-white flowers of Sarcococca confusa or Sweet Box. Glossy black berries follow the flowers.

The beautiful spidery flowers of Hamamelis mollis and H. x intermedia ‘Diane, with the delicate, citrusy scent of Witch Hazel, are in the White seat border and the Ballet border.

Look out for the seed pods of the aptly  named Iris foetidissma, which means ‘with a very bad smell’! Some people find the smell of its leaves unpleasant when crushed or bruised, an odour that has been described as “beefy”. It is just as well that it warns people to ‘back off’ with its foul odour as ingestion can cause severe discomfort.

Watch this space to follow The Hidden Gardens as it changes through the seasons.