Have you ever wondered why winter flowers are so highly scented? They are not producing all of those delightful essential oils and fragrances for our benefit, they are sending a powerful message out to any insects that have been woken out of hibernation by a spell of warm weather. Nature is very clever because the sunshine enhances the volatility of the essential oils and helps to release the fragrance which is why the scent is more powerful on a sunny day. The fragrance can be detected by insects from great distances and these winter flowering plants provide vital pollen and nectar for the IMG_0497overwintering insects that will be getting low on energy by now.

The beautiful ‘witch hazel’ Hamamelis ‘Diane’ is highly scented and  fills he air with spicy perfumes from late January, in fact this year it is a couple of weeks behind its flowering time last winter in spite of the milder winter that we are having.

IMG_0502Another shrub with a powerful fragrance is the winter honeysuckle Lonicera x fragrantissima one of the shrubby honeysuckles that bears pairs of fragrant flowers all along its arching stems from January through till April will be covered in bees on a sunny winters day. Spot the pollen sacks on the bee in the photograph!

 

Also in flower this week Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ and Sarcococca confusa both highly fragrant and make excellent cut stems, just a couple of sprigs in water will scent a whole room.

Not all trees and shrubs are insect pollinated. Some are wind pollinated and produce IMG_0498separate male and female floral structures. The male flowers are usually catkins, releasing pollen when they mature. At the moment the hazel trees are in full flower, their make catkins having elongated over the last week or so waving away in the hedgerows distributing their pollen in the wind. Harder to spot are the female flowers that look like miniature sea anemones emerging from small plump buds along the stems. Hazel trees need a period of mildly windy weather without too much rain for the pollen to spread effectively and be caught up on the sticky IMG_0508female floral parts. Unfortunately high winds and heavy rain at this time of the year can lead to a bad crop of  nuts.

With the weather picking up this week in the Limousin why not take the opportunity to go outside and see what nature you can spot in your garden and hedgerows.

Learn more about the fascinating world of plants on our BASIC BOTANY course and our other horticultural topics including plant propagation for beginners, grafting, pruning and soil science check out all of our courses on our COURSES AND EVENTS page

 

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Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’

 

img_1152Learn to use willow as a medium for sculpture and create a life size heron sculpture for your garden or by your pond. All materials, light lunch and refreshments are included.

Tuesday 23rd July 10.00-4.30 60€

Willow is a flexible material and is fun to work with but does take a little strength and dexterity for making a larger sculpture. The heron sculpture is suitable for beginners as well as those who have previously worked with willow.

img_0998To book onto this course you can use the ‘Buy Now’ button below. This is a secure transaction via PayPal but you do not need a PayPal account in order to use it as card payments are also accepted. If you prefer to pay by cheque then please use the contact form below to check availability and request a booking form.
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SDC15666This half-day course in plant propagation will look at the basics of propagating from seed and from softwood cuttings. You will learn a little botany that will help you to be more successful in rooting cuttings and understanding the different types of seeds, seed sowing tips and overcoming different types of dormancy in seeds.

You will have the opportunity to take cuttings from a range of plants to take home.

There will be follow on courses in October and February where you can learn the art of hardwood and semi-ripe cuttings (in October) and grafting (February) .

Pricking outThis half day introductory course is running on Thursday 2nd May 20€ per person

To book a place on the course use the button below, this is a secure PayPal transaction but card payments re also accepted. If you prefer to send a cheque please use the contact form below to check availability and request a booking form.
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IMG_1267Learn the basics of sculpture using chicken wire to create a lifelike chicken sculpture for your garden. A good basic beginners course which can lead onto building on these skills to create more complex sculptures later in the year.

This full day course will run on Thursday 9th May from 10.00-4.30 including a short break for a light lunch and refreshments. Materials and refreshments are all included. 55€ per person.IMG_1709

You will need to wear work clothes and bring a pair of sturdy gloves. Chicken wire is a malleable material and easy to use but will require moderate strength in your hands and fingers.

To book onto the course please use the ‘buy now’ button below. This is a secure PayPal transaction but card payments are also accepted.  If you prefer to pay by cheque please use the contact form to check availability and request a booking form. Use the contact form for all other questions about this course.

ALL PLACES ON THIS DATE ARE NOW RESERVED PLEASE GET IN TOUCH IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO THIS SO THAT WE CAN PUT N AN EXTRA DATE TO SUIT YOU 

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Learn how to use basic weaving techniques to make garden obelisks for your climbing plants. You will make two small (approx 80cm tall) or one large obelisk for a garden border to take home.

Friday 5th April 1-4pm 40€

willow supportsTo book onto this workshop you can use the ‘Buy Now’ button below, this is a secure PayPal  system but you do not need a PayPal account to use it as it also accepts card payments. If you prefer to pay be cheque use the contact form below to check availability and request a booking form.

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Learn the basics of using chicken wire as a medium for sculpture and make a life-size pheasant sculpture for your garden or meadow.

Monday 1st July 10.00-4.30 55€

Chicken wire is flexible and easy to shape but does need some strength and dexterity to use for several hours. This course is suitable for beginners and those who have some experience at using chicken wire for sculpture. We will support anyone who needs a little help to complete their sculpture.

To book onto this course you can use the ‘Buy Now’ button below. This uses a secure PayPal system but you do not need to have a PayPal account to use it as card payments are also accepted. If you prefer to pay by cheque please use the contact form below to check availability and request a booking form.

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Learn the basics of using chicken wire as a medium for outdoor sculptures and create a cute duckling sculpture for your garden.

Thursday 20th June 10.00 – 3.30 40€

A light lunch, refreshments and all materials are included in the cost.

Chicken wire is pliable and easy to shape but does take some strength and dexterity to work with over several hours. The duckling sculpture is suitable for beginners as well a those who have made sculptures etc. with chicken wire before. We have scheduled rest breaks into the day and will support anyone who needs a little help.

To book onto this course you can use the ‘Buy Now’ button below. This is a secure PayPal transaction but you do not need a PayPal account to be able to use it as card payments are also accepted. If you prefer to pay by cheque then use the contact form below to check availability and request a booking form.

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