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.

GOLDEN DAYS

Another perfect day in the garden. I love the quality of  light at this time of year. Look at the shadows in the meadow.

                                                                  

The air is scented with the fragrance of the Tea Olive ( Osmanthus fragrans) and the perfume of Elaeagnus.  Both huge fragrances from the tiniest of flowers.

                                                                   

More projects made their way onto the’ To Do’ list… below a project

                                                                         

abandoned in spring, waiting to be completed.

(The Putti, above, has been with me my entire gardening life.)

                                                                      

 There is a  brick pattern I would like to replicate for this area which is an entrance to the cutting garden. All these projects must fit into the maintenance schedule. That sounds like I am organised…I am not. My gardening is usually emergency management, although I do go out with a plan.

                                                                   

Look at this cluster of berries!! No wonder the birds are building nests in all the shrubs.

                                                                   

 Good food source, although it will take several frosts before these berries are palatable for our feathered friends.

                                                                 

AND, Clematis texensis ‘Catherine Clanwilliam’ gets the Energizer Bunny Award. She is still blooming.

© 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