Braving the elements reaps sweet smell of success

I can’t believe my sisters sometimes….! When I proposed our next blog should be about winter scented shrubs there was palpable apathy from the pair of them: ‘nothing much smelling in my garden at the moment’, ‘ it’s too windy for me to go and check if anything’s got a scent’. True, Elaine has finally succumbed to Aussie flu, so has probably lost all sense of smell anyway, and Caroline’s Scottish fiefdom has been the subject of several named storms in recent weeks, but honestly – what lightweights! – they are both missing out on one of the highlights...

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Iris unguicularis

FEBRUARY: Iris unguicularis – The Algerian Iris. This beautiful, winter flowering iris used to be called Iris stylosa; sweet sounding and easy to remember. Easy to grow too, just plant it at the base of a dry sunny wall with no added compost, and it will thrive. It seems to love poor stony soil which is no surprise when you look at its natural habitat. For most of the year you wouldn’t give it a second glance … a scruffy collection of strap shaped, dull green leaves which often as not are brown at the tips; and horror of...

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