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Still in flower on my way to work

Posted by Phil Clayton, Features Editor, The Garden on 08 Dec 2009 at 11:15 AM

Living some 30 minutes' walk from the offices of The Garden, I seldom drive to work, unless it is tipping with rain or I have an appointment after work. My walk takes me past the gardens of terraced houses and council flats, through parkland and into town, with various areas of municipal planting.


At the beginning of December, I was amazed at what I saw of interest. One small front garden was filled with hardy fuchsias, all in bloom, and looking quite spectacular, while in another stood an 8ft-tall Brugmansia, a bit tattered but still resplendent with huge apricot-coloured trumpets. As you may have guessed, we have had no real frost as yet. A bit further, planted as a street tree, is a small Sorbus, possibly S. vilmorinii, dripping with pinkish-white berries glinting in the morning sun.


Walking through the local park, the previous week's worth of gales have stripped the trees of almost all their leaves. In one corner stands a huge old elm, seemingly healthy, its distinctive outline clear against the sky. Just one week earlier, few of its now yellowish leaves had fallen. Leaving the park I saw another surprise, a large Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis' in flower, its delicate blossom standing out from the dark stems.


As I cross the road, I pass flats with a landscaped area in front. Here blooms en masse some sort of pink-flowered hebe, creating quite a show, growing with Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis, the first flowers of which are beginning to open already, my nose tells me, from the delicious and distinctive scent carried on the air. Further into town I walk through a public garden - here flowers blue Ceratostigma willmottianum, a refugee from late summer fooled by the balmy autumn, alongside winter stalwart Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn'. They can never have been planted to bloom together, but if the frost stays away, who knows how long the combination will last?



BB said:

I love it when we get unexpectedly late flowers. It makes the winter seem shorter.

on 09 Dec 2009 at 11:21 AM

TobyR said:

Saw a beautiful mature rhododendron in full flower at Sheringham Park, Norfolk a couple of weeks ago - stunning!  Should have taken a photo...

on 10 Dec 2009 at 09:20 PM