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Their brilliant white blooms will lighten up a shady corner and can, with shrubs such as coffeeberry, ceanothus and sarcococca, provide the foundation for a woodland garden.
'Yuletide', a variety with rich-red flowers at Christmas (ideal for cutting) and a sarcococca scent, though such things are subjective: it has been described as more like a musty church.
A hit of the vanilla-esque perfume of sarcococca alone is worth the trip, and, weather permitting, hellebores will be coming into bloom.
The lawn is yellow and full of moss; rabbits and deer have gnawed the bark on trees in the paddock; the hive of honey bees is probably lost; there are broken branches on the sarcococca; the self-set forget-me-nots (on which, combined with tulips and wallflowers, I depend for a good display each spring) look sorry; and the ceanothus and hebes sorrier still, while bullfinches have stripped buds from the ornamental crab apples for the first time in 20 years.