In a Vase on Monday: Twiggy Trio

Good morning and welcome to a mid-January In a Vase on Monday, for which I had already earmarked a damaged twig of witch hazel Hamamelis vernalis ‘Amethyst’, retrieving it from where it was hanging on by a mere thread of bark.

It may be an illusion, but this witch hazel looks a completely different specimen since it was moved towards the end of last year; I have few qualms about moving plants in my garden, regardless of their size, and this one had been in place outside the kitchen windows since I bought it as nobbut a twig nearly 6 years ago. It is much more than a twig now as you can see from the photos below, showing its new location at the revamped end of the woodland edge border, part of a trio of witch hazels – Amethyst on the right, Arnold’s Promise on the left and Rochester in the middle. I think it is having something solid in the background that gives it more of an impact, its paler colours being lost without this, and I am really pleased with the overall effect of this grouping.

Joining the fragrant witch hazel twig is a snippet from Benny, my affectionate name for Japanese apricot Prunus mume ‘Beni-Chidori’, a new addition bought early last year after admiring the winter gardens at Anglesey Abbey and Cambridge University Botanical Gardens as well as that of dear blogging friend Chloris. It arrived with a handful of flowers, almost over, but this year is smothered with little pink dots which should be open in time for our mid-February visitors. I may be imagining it, but it looks as if the little pink dots are swelling since I cut the twig and placed it in its pot; when they open, whether on this twig or on the tree, the flowers are meant to be highly fragrant, so to stay with this theme, the final member of the trio is Sarcococca confusa – how can such tiny flowers pump out such a powerful fragrance?

Placed in three mismatched stone inkwells, the trio of fragrant twigs are joined by a group of three tiny glazed pots from my miniatures shelf.

Winter blooms are something to treasure and I am delighted to be able to share these with you today. Have you been able to find any blooms, foliage or twigs or something else you feel would fit the IAVOM bill in your garden or elsewhere today? If so, please share the joy with us by leaving the usual links to and from this post.

ps the rose buds did not open so last week’s vase looks exactly the same as it did seven days ago, but the buds are now papery relics of their earlier freshness. Ah well….!

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29 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Twiggy Trio

  1. the running wave says:

    There is something very special about the scent of winter flowers. I love witch hazel in particular. It reminds me of my teenage years when I would go with my parents to stay at Longstock House, in the Test Valley, and they always had little vases of witch hazel on the low tables in the drawing room, where we would have afternoon tea! A bygone time. The fragrance is so elusive and interesting. I love your scented trio, no doubt all the more fragrant for being in the warmth of the house. My vase this week features the dangly catkins of the alder tree. Amanda

  2. Noelle says:

    The trio of cream glazed ink pots as if not small enough, you have even smaller ones. A real coup in which to place you stems of winter blooms. That Amethyst witch hazel is a stunner. Noelle

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle – ink pots are graet for little vases and I have several, picked up probably as a job lot, sometime. Where it was before, Amethyst looked almost wishy-washy, so it shows what a difference the new location makes

  3. I want some inkwells! I wished I had some yesterday for short stemmed Zinnias. To no avail. I remember Prunus mume, lovely and flower in February in my former garden. I could never get the forcing to work, like your rosebud, Oh, well. Here is my vase

  4. Chloris says:

    The twigs of January hold so much promise. I am glad you got the Prunus mume, it is expensive but worth every penny. I love H. ‘Amethyst’ it’s certainly gone down on my wants list.
    I have joined in this week .

    • Cathy says:

      Don’t they just! Amethyst has really gone up in my estimation since the move, and there is a slight fragrance evident too, which I am sure I wasn’t aware of before. Mine came from Bluebell Arboretum and I have not come across it elsewhere.

  5. Kris P says:

    It’s too bad about the rose buds but your twiggy stem trio is splendid. I so wish I could grow witch hazel – I know that’s greedy when there’s so much I can grow but I’m very avaricious when it comes to plants. White I have many of the usual suspects in a vase this week, I thingk I managed to mix things up a bit:

    • Cathy says:

      Well yes, I suppose it’s best just to accept that some things will not grow where we hard…But avaricious about plants is something that would apply to me too!!

  6. Jennifer Tetlow Stone Sculpture says:

    Sorry to hear about the roses, but your new trio and little trio more than make up for it I think. (adore those tiny glazed pots). The flowers of witch hazel always look ‘otherworldly’ to me, or like they should be growing in the deep sea. I’m getting the perfume from your twigs just from your description!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jennifer – and I agree that the charm of witch hazel flowers lies in their unusual appearances as well as the timing and fragrance

  7. I love all three in your pots.
    Endeavouring to join you again soon.

  8. Anna says:

    Oh that’s a fine trio of winter scented beauties Cathy. Your ‘Benny’ is on my wish list. There is a sizeable clump of sarcococca in the grounds of our local town hall where we took a short stroll recently. The aroma from them is absolutely intoxicating.

    • Cathy says:

      My Benny was really reasonable, a standard from Ornamental Trees, although checking the website now it is a good bit dearer this year. The scent of sarcococca still throws me. as it doesn’t hit you till you have walked past. For some reason the huge patch in the Castle Pleasure Grounds, where I first encountered it, has been removed..

  9. pbmgarden says:

    I underscore all the previous comments Cathy. Love the witch hazel and the choice of 3 pots duplicated in miniature makes a nice impact. I’ve babied a tiny piece of sarcococca for a number of years. Just as it was reaching a nice size I had to have a tree removed near it and wouldn’t you know, a heavy branch did it in. I actually don’t know its magical smell but it must be nice.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie, and what a shame about the baby sarcococca – did the roots not survive the impact? I must look into how best to propagate it for future reference – there are berries on one of my plants so I could try sowing from these

  10. Sharon macleod says:

    The witch hazel is such a pretty colour, I am just wondering if I could find a space in my garden for a specimen 🤔. I adore Christmas box and have several bushes in discreet places in the garden, there is nothing so special as doing a little pottering and catching a gorgeous whiff of perfume. I do love your little trio this week, such a shame we can’t have scratch and sniff👃X

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I am sorry our blogs don’t provide that option!! If there is a plant I really want but don’t know where I could put it I hold the thought over how ever long it takes and just look out for options as I walk round the garden, thinking out of the box and waiting for inspiration to strike. It might be a matter of moving or removing something, rejigging a layout, all sorts of possibilities. They are very open shrubs/trees, so you can grow other things beneath them, or plant them in grass

  11. Essence of winter … perfect

  12. tonytomeo says:

    I needed to look that one up. I could not remember where I heard the species name of Hamamelis vernalis. We used to grow the common garden varieties of Hamamelis, but I actually needed to purchase Hamamelis virginiana online. We weren’t growing it, and it is not available in nurseries. Anyway, while trying to find it, I came across Hamamelis vernalis, but did not purchase it. It still appeals to me though, just because it a North American species rather than a garden variety.

    • Cathy says:

      Most of the named species in the UK are H x intermedia, crosses between H mollis and H japonica, and you may not have cone across those either

      • tonytomeo says:

        Those were the cultivars that we grew back in the 1990s. They were discontinued though, because they were woefully unpopular here. They are more appealing farther north, where there is not much to bloom in winter. Our stock plants still live out in the arboretum. Their foliar color in autumn is spectacular. They grow something like the native (but unrelated) hazel, so might get ignored until their color develops. They are bare only briefly before they bloom! I got the common witch hazel for my own garden, just because I wanted to experience growing such a traditional species. I might eventually get the Ozark witch hazel too, just because it is a species that I heard about from my ancestors in Oklahoma.

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