10 Shrubs to Brighten the Winter Months

Most of us spend relatively little time in the garden during the winter months. Of course there are jobs to be done, but with plants growing slowly, short days, inclement weather and sometimes frozen or wet ground, the opportunities are naturally limited. Winter is a time for planning and preparation, time to stand back, see […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Mirabilis longiflora ‘Angels’ Trumpets’

  Although I find growing from seed one of the most rewarding aspects of gardening, I have done so less and less in recent years. It’s partly down to space, and partly down to the requirement to be present during those critical days when tender seedlings are emerging from the soil – my life just […]

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Midsummer’s Day Dreaming

  What an extraordinary spell of weather we have been having. It’s so hot that I am relieved to be returning home to the coast every evening to enjoy a gin and tonic or glass of chilled rose, as far from the capital’s oppressive heat as I can get. There is always a faint breeze […]

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Scents of Christmas

  It’s been a sensory Christmas here at The Watch House. The pain of concluding the building project and clearing up afterwards, the pleasure of decorating our new rooms for Christmas, and the joy of inviting friends and family to share time with us has made for fortnight of mixed feelings and heightened emotions. There has […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Sarcococca ruscifolia

Venturing out of the terrace doors this morning I am hit, full frontal, by the scent of Christmas Box, Sarcococca ruscifolia. The fragrance coming from the feathery white flowers is sweet, honeyed, almost sickly. Just one tiny sprig in the kitchen is filling the house with its delicious scent as I write this post. Unassuming […]

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Pesky Paperwhites

Once again, I’ve mistimed my paperwhite narcissi. Just three weeks after planting they are in full bloom, filling every corner of the house with their intoxicating fragrance. Wise to the bulbs’ tendency to flower prematurely I planted another bowl-full last week, which I hope will show their ice-white faces on Christmas Day. To be absolutely […]

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Plant Portraits: Osmanthus fragrans (Guìhuā (桂花) or Sweet Olive)

It is customary in Hong Kong for 5 star hotels to have a house fragrance, pumped into lobbies in heady clouds and sold at great expense in the gift shop. However, it’s not often one steps out of a car onto the street in China to be greeted by a similar olfactory experience. In fact […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Deutzia

Like Philadelphus, Deutzia is a genus of about 60 species which produce goblet-shaped clumps of cane-like growths bearing fragrant flowers in summer. I have always found them a bit unkempt and leggy, plus I can’t bear the slightly sour scent. But at a distance they make excellent shrubs for the back of a border or […]

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A New Look for Spring

Yes, The Frustrated Gardener has had a little spring make-over. I hope you like my new look. Please let me know what you think. Tonight I embark on another business trip to India and Asia, but I hope to keeping adding lots of new posts over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, this weekend there was a […]

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