Sarah Coles



z-img_3638-2-winter-boxBright  and freezing.  Nothing in the way of flowers but, wait!  I never noticed Christmas Box, Sarcocca confusa, its slight creamy flowers are barely visible among the shiny leaves and last year’s black berries, but boy … from two pots either side the door its scent now wafts over everyone who enters.  A welcome, a Please Enter. They’ve been there over ten years, and come from self sown seedlings, and all I do is occasionally top dress them, scraping off some soil and replacing it with fresh compost, and giving a bucket of water when there’s a summer drought.  Since they are related to box, once I thought I would clip them into balls, but they didn’t like it.  They wanted to spread their wings, so I let them be.

img_3538By the fence, under a birch, grows Mahonia Charity, stately, evergreen, slightly prickly and now holding posies of  yellow scented sprays.  In our old home I was given one for my December birthday, because then it would always be  flowering.  So I planted one here, which gets satisfyingly taller each year, each branch bearing flowers.

By two o’clock the temperature is above freezing, and small swarms of  midges hover in the sunshine.  They are here to pollinate my winter wonders.


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