FABULOUS FALL FRAGRANCE

It’s blooming….  As soon as I walked out the door I caught the fragrance. Osmanthus fragrans, known in the south as ‘ ‘Tea Olive’.

                                                                                    

Tiny but abundant cream coloured blossoms emit the most remarkable and penetrating fragrance. 

This is a beautiful, pest free, evergreen shrub that matures at 10 to 15  feet, and blooms TWICE a year; fall & spring.

To quote Dirr* “to not try the plant is to cheat one’s garden.” I so agree, and cannot recall a garden design where this plant was not included. It also makes a remarkable evergreen hedge.

This spring, at the suggestion of my friend Marsha, I acquired a new selection (Osmanthus aurantiacus) that blooms only once in the autumn, and the flowers are ‘pale orange’.                                                                                          

 It’s hard to say how fragrant it is because I have Osmanthus fragrans  planted much like Margaret Moseley* advised with gardenias, every 25-30 feet or so ,where an evergreen was required and the conditions are favorable, so the entire garden is permeated with the fragrance. I have followed her advice on this with almost every fragrant shrub in the garden. Something you might want to try if there is a fragrance you are particularly fond of.

I don’t take lightly any advice given by a 95-year-old gardener. Clearly she has much more experience than I.

*Dirr, Michael, Renowned woody plant expert. Author of the textbook A MANUAL OF WOODY LANDSCAPE PLANTS.

*Margaret Moseley, famous Atlanta Gardener.

IT’S THE BERRIES!

A sure sign that summer is drawing to a close…

                                                                        

  above, Viburnum dilatatum ‘Erie’.  Below, V. ‘Michael Dodge’                                                                  

 Today I caught the scent of the Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans.) Amazing how a fragrance can stir a memory. More amazing, the HUGE fragrance from such a tiny flower.

                                                                     

Last week at the Atlanta Botanical garden…

                                                                  

A cornucopia covered with dried flowers…

                                                                  

and a lecture by Fergus Garrett; head gardener at Great Dixter. UK

                                                                  

                                                                   

                                                                

Exciting lecture, GREAT GLASSES!

© All photos & text 2010

THE LAST CLEMATIS

                                                                  The last Clematis to bloom in my garden is the Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora )                                                                  

I love this clematis. If I did not, it would be banished  from my garden. It is a thug. But so beautiful, so fragrant, and  my honeybees are all over it.

                                                                      

 When I lived in Massachusetts I planted it against the house. It climbed to the second story and found its way into my studio window and bloomed inside.

                                                                   

But in Georgia it is another matter. The seeds are all viable and if left to their own devices  will germinate and take over the garden. In order to avoid this, it is cut to the ground immediately after the bloom. Too bad because the seedheads are spectacular, however I dare not let it go to seed. The one year it was neglected  over 30 volunteer clematis had to be dug up the following spring. Of course this does not apply to gardeners in colder climates.

                                                                 

Strong and vigorous it can exceed 30 feet. In the above photos it has smothered a Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans).

Known alternately as Clematis paniculata then  Clematis maximowicziana, it is aptly named ‘Sweet Autumn Clematis’. For me this is one of the first plants to signal the end of summer.

© All photos & text