Look closely and you’ll already see signs of spring in the garden.

If you’re one of those people for whom winter is too long and dreary, buds offer the certainty that it won’t last for ever.  Here’s what’s budding in my garden now.

Chaenomeles – flowering quince

I think these bright green buds look like miniature sprouts.   If you’re a sprout lover they may get your mouth watering for Christmas dinner.  I’m not a sprout fan but I am excited to know that the line of shrubs under this bay window will soon be ablaze with the rusty red rosebud flowers of the Chaenomeles japonica.

For those unfamiliar with this plant, here’s a picture of the quince flowers in bloom from last spring.

chaenomeles japonica


Witch Hazel – Hamemelis x intermidia ‘Pallida’Witch Hazel Hamemlis x intermedia

I have one witch hazel in my garden – behind a bench alongside my shady shrubby path.

I would love a few more but they are rather expensive.  I planted one last year to see how it fared before risking buying any more.  It’s still pretty small but is beginning to spread.  I look forward to a time when it will grow more – potentially filling a space 3m x 3m.

This week I took a close look at my plant and was overjoyed to see lots of happy buds developing.  The picture below shows a close-up of the flowers when open.  I think they look like slightly sparse cheer-leaders’ pom-poms.

witch hazel branches


I was a bit worried that I would be heading for a spring with few Camellia flowers this year.  I have know for a long time that Camellias need water in summer to ensure good bud development.  Knowing something and acting on that knowledge are two different things though and in this summer’s heatwave I neglected the Camellia, deploying the watering can elsewhere.

Still, 4 of my 8 plants have a good number of buds and others have one or two.  As most are planted on north facing walls, they are spared direct sunshine and the soil stays pretty damp.

Pink camellia in bloom

My Camellia in full bloom Spring 2017

Wisteria sinensis

Wisteria never rests.  It’s an all night party girl.

It clings onto its leaves well into November before depositing them in a soggy heap on the floor just when you’re thoroughly sick of leaf raking.  This one still has many leaves still attached – it refuses to disrobe.  When it does, and you think it’s finally sleeping off a night on the tiles, look closely and you’ll see next year’s buds already developing.  It’s preparing its party frock for next year so it can thoroughly show off next May.

Magnolia ‘Kobus’

I have three magnolias, including this lovely multi-stemmed Magnolia ‘Kobus’.  It’s happy as larry planted within a courtyard area carved out at the top of the drive as part of my greenhouse project build.

It’s nerve wracking planting new trees and this one had the hardest of summers to contend with during the heatwave.  I prioritised watering here and have no concerns about the health of the tree as it’s smothered in furry buds.

This variety of Magnolia has slightly smaller flowers than the usual large goblets that you see around but they are a very pretty shape and lovely creamy white colour.  I can’t wait to see these open next spring but as a reminder here’s a picture from last year.

Magnolia Kobus

Magnolia Kobus – simple, pure white and enchanting

Hazel – Coryllus avellanahazel catkins

Most people only notice Hazel catkins once they start to elongate in January, developing sulphur yellow hues and blowing pollen when shaken by the wind.

I also like them pre-christmas when they are still a pinky grey colour.  They look like stubby little caterpillars.  I often cut hazel branches to use in christmas decorations or here as twiggy supports for indoor bulbs.  I’ve noticed that this arrests their development entirely and they never progress to the yellow phase – but they can be used all winter in various ways indoors.

hazel twigs to support indoor bulbs

I’ve written a piece on hazel and another twiggy bough – twisted willow – and how I use them in winter decorations.  If you’re interested you can read it here.


Six on Saturday is a weekly meme – take a look at the comments at the base of host The Propagator to see more ‘sixes’ from other keen gardeners from all over the world.