I was writing an email this week and referring to the winter interest in our garden when I realised my fingers (the 4 or 5 I use on a keyboard) had got ahead of themselves and written ‘winterest’ instead. I am sure I won’t be the first person to have come up with that term, either inadvertently or intentionally, but it struck me as a useful word to describe a garden with seasonal interest in the winter months – and a vase based on seasonal delights.
The delights that grace my Monday vase today are Sarcococca humilis (having lost its label many years ago it may even be S confusa), contorted hazel Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ and sprigs of witch hazel Hamamelis ‘Diane’. The sarcococca is often referred to as ‘Christmas box’, so the vase contents are displayed in the bottom half of a lidded brass box (with moss to hide the frog holding the stems in place) and accompanied by three other boxes: a turned wooden thimble case, an origami paper box and a carved heart-shaped trinket box from India. It made me smile to find inside the latter a hollowed-out seed with a lid and two teeny-tiny elephants probably carved from bone. I am sure there were 3 elephants originally, but considering their size it is not surprising that one of them has packed their trunk. I remember as a child being fascinated with a similar seed my mother had, and no doubt my own children were equally fascinated by mine.
Sadly, you will have been unable to scratch and sniff my Wordless Wednesday post featuring the sarcococca, and I am only sorry you can’t smell the fragrance of today’s vase either, albeit currently heavily disguised by the aroma of a cake in the oven – even a few sprigs make a surprisingly powerful impact. That’s one of the other joys of winter flowering plants – many of them have a fragrance. Even a pot or bunch of the humble native snowdrop, when brought into the warmth, will exude a subtle but sweet perfume, sometimes also detectable outside on unseasonably mild winter days. Nectar seeking insects will find plenty of restaurants open for business in our garden…
Whether fragrant or not, finding something in your garden to pick and pop in a vase will undoubtedly bring pleasure to your lockdown days – why not give it a try even if you don’t usually join in with IAVOM? If you would like to share what you have found, just leave links to and from this post.