Winter scents and sensitivity

From her Vosges garden, Cathy Thompson offers tips to brighten up January

The first mouthfuls of galette des rois at Epiphany (6 January) are exquisite. But by the time it’s still being wheeled out (stale) at the end of January, I’ve had enough! I like plants in season, too: so let nurserymen stop breeding for ‘year-round colour’ and allow each season to sing its own song.

The little Japanese apricot, Prunus mume ‘Beni-Chidori’, starts blooming around the same time as the galette is going stale – and is just as delightful in the anticipation, with its reddish-pink, slightly almond-scented flowers. On reflection, it would probably adapt well to cultivation in a greenhouse pot to ensure January flowers.

Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ is likely to have been in flower since November, even in the open garden. I think what makes these two so special is the vision of the delicate blossoms floating ...

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