Although just a young shrub, winter flowering honeysuckle Lonicera purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’, has been flowering generously for a few weeks – but at the back of the shrub border where I can’t catch its fragrance. I had intended to use it last week for my Monday vase, but accessing it in the snow would not have been the easiest task so that decision was postponed until today when it was joined in the vase by a single (indoor grown) white hyacinth stem and late blooms of Salvia ‘Amistad’ from cuttings in the greenhouse, all beauties in their own right. The single prop was my favourite snowdrop book by Freda Cox, always referred to frequently throughout the snowdrop season to check up on various details of these other ubiquitous winter beauties.
Even in the house the fragrance of the lonicera (which I recently learned from Gardeners’ Question Time is pronounced with a soft rather than hard ‘c’) is not strong unless I bury my nose in one of its flowers; strangely, neither is the hyacinth, and I have heard mention recently that the strength of fragrance can vary between colours of the bloom. When I cut the salvia, I caught a distinct whiff of its aromatic leaves so all in all this is a subtly fragrant vase and as such most welcome at this relatively lean time of year.
The weather in different parts of the world is having a big impact on our vases this month, and even the tiniest and sparsest of vases will be welcomed by both participants and viewers: the parameters are wide open so there is plenty of opportunity to think outside the box. Next week, IAVOM falls on Christmas Day for the first time and I plan to post just a picture and perhaps a festive message; feel free to do the same yourself or have a week off, it’s your choice! For those who dip into Rambling in the Garden only on Mondays, just in case you are busy with other things next week I wish you a peaceful and contented Christmas period and all the very best for 2018.