Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Thursday 12 April 2007

Fragrant plant identified

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 7:21 pm

On my way to work I cycle past a shrub which is incredibly fragrant in late summer and autumn. The fragrance travels so far that it was difficult at first for me to work out which shrub it was. However, I managed that last autumn, and ever since then I have been wondering what it is. It is a large, evergreen, rather boring-looking shrub with dull leaves that turn inwards at the edges. I thought it might be Osmanthus, but that has smaller leaves.

Elaeagnus Overview

This morning I stopped to take another look at it, and I noticed that it had egg-shaped pink-speckled fruit, and the new leaves were a greyish-brown colour, almost metallic, rather than dark green like the older ones.

Elaeagnus fruits

At work I looked up one of my current suspects, Elaeagnus, using Google Images, and there were my rosy-red fruits. I think it is x ebbingei, which is a shame, as I have no idea how you pronounce it.

Now I know what it is, the next question is whether to try growing it in my garden. If I am right about the variety, it loves the shade, which is a big plus point. If I could grow it up the fence, and keep it trimmed back, it would be lovely to walk past it in the late summer and autumn. On the other hand, I think it looks quite vigorous, and so I might have to do quite a lot of pruning to keep it under control if I want to keep it in a small space. I think I will see if I can acquire a plant, either from a garden centre, or by taking some semi-ripe cuttings in a couple of months’ time if I think nobody will notice (the shrub is at the edge of an estate, not in someone’s garden), and see how it gets on.

Later note:
I also got the answer from a forum where I posted my question on a bulletin board run by the RHS at http://www.rhs.org.uk/ibb/posts.aspx?postID=11201&viewreplies=true. I thought I had set the options to email me if there were any replies, so I hadn’t checked back there at the time, but I later found that the majority opinion was that it was elaeagnus. These people are good detectives, as I hadn’t even given them a picture, and are obviously very knowledgeable. Worth knowing for future reference.

And finally, my camellia is flowering like there is no tomorrow. Just in case there isn’t, I took a picture. The honesty in the foreground is trying pretty hard too.

Camellia having a flowering frenzy

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2 responses to “Fragrant plant identified”

  1. Mary in FL says:

    I found this blog post while trying to figure out what my plant is. It’s this one! Did you end up growing one?

    Here’s another article of it for you: http://www.pfaf.org/user/cmspage.aspx?pageid=61

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