The Edgeworthia

Oh how I love my Edgeworthia chrysantha, one of the best, the very very best, late winter scented shrubs in my garden and in my experience.

The shrub in my garden is now flowering well and the scent wafts across the garden with the most delicious vanilla sweetness.  I know its flowers are opening before I get close to it as suddenly I get a waft and then go and inspect her.

Her delights begin well before the flowers open.  The buds start to form early and are kept close until they suddenly, early autumn, start to make their shy entrance.
Head bowed they shyly appear and then I start to observe them routinely hoping they will get through to flower.

Edgeworthia's are quite picky, they are a bit of a diva.  It took me several attempts to find where one would grow happily in my garden.  This one is in a semi-shady corner that is sheltered from the winds.  The soil in my garden is quite acidy and this particular corner of the garden is moist and well drained.  That magical almost mythical combination.  Most of my garden is thick heavy clay so this is a very special corner.

They are allegedly hardy to -10 C but this is probably the thing that gives me the most angst.  They can be seriously affected by frost and particularly when younger, a sharp frost can kill them.  Last year an early sharp frost killed almost every developing bud on mine and this was very annoying.  It is the first time this has happened and if it is threated again I will cover her with fleece.  When I first bought her she was quite small.  I kept her in a pot so I could overwinter her in the greenhouse until I felt she was big enough to cope outside.  This worked where my other attempts had failed.  Summer 2022 I nearly lost her in the drought, suddenly I realised that she had wilted so emergency buckets of water were applied until the rain returned.
Once the buds have emerged they start to plump up nicely.  They catch the dew and the raindrops beautifully.  The foliage dies off in the autumn and the buds stand out against the bare stems.
and then there is that moment where the florets start to get ready to flower, one or two will start to thicken and elongate, almost looking toe-like.   I hold my breath as I know the flowering moment will now be soon.
Then with an almost silent 'plink' they start to open.  You might not have heard them go plink, but I am sure they do.  At this point the scent is released, only to get stronger with each floret that joins them in their song of scent.
The shrub itself might not look much from a distance, but it begs to be walked up to and its scent enjoyed in its full glory.  On the sunnier days bees adore it, it is a fabulous early food for pollinators.
and the balls of flowers open and radiate colour and scent (have I mentioned the scent enough yet?).
The Edgeworthia gnome serenades as he protects her.  It is an important task and he does not desert his post.

Edgeworthias are also known as the Paper Bush as the bark is used to make paper in Japan. It is a superb shrub to have in your Winter garden, even if it is a bit of diva...

Take care and be kind.

For more from the Blackberry Garden follow me on Twitter X  Facebook and Instagram