A garden is after all organised chaos and in our minds our creations should always look ‘free’. The one exception to our ethos and aesthetic take on the garden is on the nursery, where order seems fitting. Straight alphabetical lines, left to right, front to back, labels always facing forward.
One of my early tasks a month into my first job and first paid foray into horticulture was to be left to my own devices on the ‘top sheets’. At Penwood this was where the larger shrubs were grown on, my task was to weed, line out and rearrange the Witch Hazels. At the time I had no knowledge of the binomial system, Genus, species, variety…culti-wha? It therefore seems fitting that this spidery flowered, scented Genus and actually the whole family for that matter, has remained close to my heart. At the time of my orderly endeavours I was unaware of the curious winter flowers that would emerge from these pleasing but rather hazel like green shrubs.
The yellows have been and always will be my favourite, talking very broadly they can often be the earliest colour to emerge, they are the cheeriest and sit the most comfortably in the winter garden. The reds and the oranges are harder to place and from afar can appear ‘dirty’, I’m not saying I don’t like a dirty flower, I do. However, it’s up close and personal these orange and lemon peel like flowers come into their own and that’s when, no matter the colour, they never fail to fill the January blues with heady, scented, joyful beauty.
When Christmas is done for and the New Year is upon us that’s when the Hamamelis come out to play.