Scent in Your Winter World

Beginning with tulips and ending with late-blooming tropical plants, I love to have scent in my garden. I try to scent my indoor world during the winter as well. On a warm and slushy day last weekend I was drawn outdoors in boots and clippers.

I carefully snipped the leaves off stems of the Hamamelis virginica, or witch hazel. This species, with its subtle flowers that bloom as early as January, has trouble letting go of its leaves, covering up the flowers, which are hard to notice anyway.

What isn't hard to notice--outdoors in mid-winter--is the flowers' fragrance. It's not strong, but is unmistakably fresh.

I also removed some crossing branches, some of which had flowers. I brought them in and put them in a vase. The warm indoor temperatures coaxed the flowers to open, adding just a little something, a bit of je ne sais quoi to the air. When you put flowers with a subtle scent into a small room, entering is a wonderful experience as the fragrance doesn't hit you as you enter, but gently reminds you that it's there.

Plan ahead for next winter by picking up a potted citrus plant next spring. They've become more readily available at independent garden centers, and go for anywhere from $20 to $40.
January, 2013--its first winter.

I purchased a potted Clementine called Fina Mandarin in spring of 2013. It bloomed off and on during the summer in its patio location, but it had a lot of competition in that scenario.

Citrus flowers aren't very large, but their fragrance is unmistakably "orange blossom," a sweet, tangy scent that can transport you to Florida citrus groves in winter. Some citrus is perfect for pot growth, and have been designated as such.

According to a site called site called Citrus pages, by Jorma Koskinen of Finland, this clementine cultivar was imported from Algeria into Spain in 1925 and is the one from which most Spanish clementines originated.

Realistically, keeping any kind of citrus happy over several years in a pot inside your house for the winter isn't likely. Eventually they'll succumb to a host of conditions ranging from scale and spider mites to root disease.

January, 2015 - still happy in its third winter indoors.
But you can get three or four years out of them if you feed, prune and care for them outdoors before bringing them in for the winter. If they need to be repotted, do it in the spring so they have time to settle in before they're brought indoors. If they're happy and healthy, you'll have that beautiful scent in January.  I think it's wort it.

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