Monday, March 28, 2011

A Worthy Distraction

Another lazy weekend.....

Lazy taking photographs that is! Apart from that it's been another pleasantly hectic weekend, both from gardening and spending time with friends and family, and it never fails to amaze me how much one can fit in in a short span of two days.

Saturday morning was spent with a quick visit to a nearby nursery to check out their spring offers, and it was a very succesful visit. Lots of new plants available for very good prices so we came back with two trolley loads of new plants that will be welcome additons to our garden. By noon we were back home as a couple of friends from Nottingham were visiting for the day, together with some of Gaz's family from Kent, and all of us had lunch together in a local pub. Afterwards, they popped round to visit our garden in the afternoon. It was a lovely, relaxing Satuday and it was great to see everyone again.

So we weren't able to do much in the garden on Saturday. Feeling relaxed and chilled out from the previous day, we were eager to get stuck in on Sunday and so we did. There's so much to do, and you get this long mental list of things you want to get done in such a short period of time that it's easy to get lost in a flurry of activity. Sometimes even remembering to have lunch, at lunchtime can be tricky, only remembering to have it when your tummy starts to complain, and usually it's late in the afternoon already. But such is the joy of spring gardening, and I'm not complaining!

After telling myself off last weekend for not taking too many photos, I sort of put in my top most agenda to take lots of photos this weekend. With spring definitely here, lots of plants are springing back to life and there's so much activity going on that there are plenty of subjects to take photos of. And besides, spring only comes once a year (albeit lasts a few months) and it would be nice to capture as much of what's happening in the garden, especially most of them are fleeting moments that's worth capturing. But alas, photo taking came tumbling down the priority list again in my excitement to garden.

That's until I noticed a particular plant in bloom and I immediately grabbed the camera and took photos, not wanting to miss the moment just in case it never lasts.

Illicium simonsii (Illicium yunnanense ?)

I only acquired this plant early last year, and thinking that it's still too small to flower it was a complete surprise to find it currently in bloom. And the scent is just divine, if I can only attach a whiff of its gorgeous scent to our blog I would have. The sweet scent is very similar to the incredibly fragrant flowers of Jasminum sambac, and anyone who has ever smelled its flowers would know (and understand the heavenly experience) the wonderful scent I'm referring to.

The plant was originally labelled as Illicium yunnanense, acquired from the person who actually collected the original plant on one of his plant collecting expeditions in China many years ago. I bought up the question to him on how similar it is to Illicium simonsii, he said that there are some confusion going on about the names and identities, and that more likely they are actually one in the same. Last month Crug Farm had a large Illicium simonsii in bloom on their stand at the RHS London Plant and Design Show, and they both look very similar indeed. I bought another plant from them but that one isn't flowering at the moment so I couldn't compare the blooms side by side. Foliage wise, they look identical.

Whatever it is, it is wonderful, and for me exceptional enough that it was able to distract me in the midst of my gardening ecstasy to actually make me stop and take photos of it. Definitely worth the distraction! And if you can get hold of one I highly recommend it, whether from Crug Farm or somewhere else. I have yet to plant it out, this one spending last winter in the greenhouse. But the reports have been very good, and knowing one specimen that have withstood temperatures down to -18C (0F) with very little damage.

We have now entered British Summer Time (BST), and with the clocks gone one hour forward, there's more opportunity to garden after work as daytime is getting longer and extending well into the evenings. And plenty of opportunity to take photos in the next few days. And no more excuses this time :-)



  1. Make up a bed...I am packing to come over to smell that gorgeous perfumed flower. :-)

  2. You're welcome Hazel! Just in time to get away from the coming winter there too :)

  3. The Illicium I am not familiar with, it does look like a very interesting plant worthy of a place in the garden.The first shot I took to be a macro shot of a small spring plant but your second picture with the support of a cane suggests differently.

  4. What an exotic beauty to have in flower in March! Gorgeous.

  5. A plant with such lovely foliage and flower, and wonderful scent too! Sounds perfect! I love those days of gardening all day, working and enjoying it so much we forget to eat until stomach rumbles remind us. It's my favorite way to lose a few pounds!

  6. That's a real beauty - how wonderful to have it flowering. Your weekend sounds pretty much perfect.

  7. Alistair, this plant is worth a try in your location. Go on, you know you want to :)

    Thanks Martin, it looks exotic indeed!

    Debs, I have to be more disciplined after gardening too. I tend to compensate by eating lots of chocolate after! :)

    It was a fabulous weekend Janet!

  8. Yes, you know a flower is worthy when amidst a flurry of gardening and garden gazing, one has to drop everything and run inside to find the camera! Interesting flower btw!

  9. I love that shrub and wanted to get one but it was so borderline here for my zone, I finally didn't get it. Lucky you.
    Goldenray Yorkies


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