Flowering now

A little while ago I posted a Flowering Now that was coincidentally about red flowers – well, today’s provides the balance with a look at some white flowers.


White Magic hellebore (winter rose). My flowers come on short stems, but there are plenty of them! Photo: Sandra Simpson

And here’s a link to Clifton Homestead Nursery in Otago that specialises in hellebores, a useful plant for part-shaded situations. The large, glossy leaves are there all year and in late winter along come the flowers. The long-stemmed types tend to be nodding but someone told me a few years ago that she grows hers in hanging baskets so she looks up at the flowers. Not a bad idea.


Osmanthus Pearly Gates. Photo: Sandra Simpson

I bought this plant after going for a walk round Looking Glass Garden in the spring – after climbing the Stairway to Heaven with St Peter at the top waiting for us we reckoned we’d earned afternoon tea at Pacifica Garden Centre on the outskirts of Papamoa.

Seeing a plant named Pearly Gates seemed like a big, celestial nudge so we bought it and, as the label said “highly fragrant”, we planted it by the front door. I can’t smell it, but others have told me it has a “sweet, creamy” scent. The label suggested also that it could be used as a “low hedge”, which is an interesting idea.

I’ve tried to photograph my sweet box (Sarcococca ruscifolia) while it’s in flower, but the flowers are very small and I haven’t managed a decent photo yet – I can’t smell that either, yet it’s also supposed to have a pleasant perfume. (Usually I have a good sense of smell so can’t explain this current malfunction.)

My plant is in a tall pot and was badly treated for a time – I moved the pot into a garden bed to fill a temporary hole and promptly forgot about it, leaving it in full sun for the best part of a year. What’s that plant with yellow leaves? Yep, it was an ailing sweet box. I quickly moved it into a shady spot and nutured it for a good while and thankfully it has recovered.

And, finally, my small wildflower patch still has some flowers in it – alyssum is going great guns and there’s also this interesting plant, sweet mignonette (Reseda odorata).


Sweet mignonette. Photo: Sandra Simpson