Gardening Journals: Spring Fragrance
Spring is an exciting time all around the Collection, from the kitchens to housekeeping, but it’s an especially energetic time of year in our fabulous gardens. And where better to look for some spring-time inspiration (or do we mean motivation?!), than our most-awarded garden at The Great Fosters Estate – trust us, if you think you’ve got your work cut out (no pun intended), pruning your garden ready for the summer, just wait until you hear what our team have on their list!
Gardening although we jest, needn’t feel like it’s all chores, all of the time. The process of doing the tasks themselves is a mindful practice, and as our head gardener at Great Fosters, Katy Feher shares, there’s plenty to enjoy even at the beginning of the spring season – with more scents than you might imagine.
“I just love the gardens at Great Fosters. At the moment, we’re mostly pruning back roses – we have 500 established plants in the grounds, so it’s pretty thorny work! – along with getting our wisteria ready for it’s jubilant rush of colour later in the spring. All of this work is done by hand – just as knives are to chefs, so are secateurs to gardeners – and they must be kept sharp for this work. It’s important to have clean cuts to encourage fresh new growth – done at an angle, as you do with cut flowers for a vase.
Whilst in the grounds in early springtime, I am struck by the gorgeous array of scents already. At the moment I love seeing Lonicera Fragantissima coming into bloom. This variety of honeysuckle blooms in the winter and early spring, and you can smell the delicate lemon fragrance as you brush past – it’s a real treat, and part of our ‘eau de parfum’ of spring.
Pictured – Lonicera Fragrantissima – note that it can irritate skin, and the fruits are poisonous.
Then there’s Sarcoccoca Confusa – a fabulous shrub, sometimes called Sweet Box, which flowers now through until March. The fragrance is sweet and honey-like.
Pictured: Sarcoccoca Confusa
And for the final note in our fragrance, there’s the majestic Daphne Odora ‘Aureomarginata’. Named after an elusive Greek nymph, Daphne Odora is an elegant shrub as pretty to behold as it is to smell – with the beautiful little clusters of flowers filling the air with jasmine-like scents. It’s a treasure, flowering through the winter and early spring – but it can be tricky, so be sure to ask your garden centre for tips on planting, and note that all parts are poisonous.
All in all, there’s quite a fragrance out there ready to be bottled! And it certainly helps us along whilst we make our way through those five-hundred roses, among other things!”
So, if you have any of these treats in your garden – or perhaps others! – enjoy them now whilst other chores are carried out in readiness for a fabulous summer.
Discover the gardens at Great Fosters here.