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Flowering Currant

It’s hard to ignore the beauty of the Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) flowering in the last month of Winter.

Well, I could hardly write that last blog post and just walk away. So here’s something that has brought on some cheer these past few weeks: my Flowering Currant.

My mother tells me that my great grandmother used to have a Flowering Currant in her garden. Its beautiful flowers and soft scent were so distinctive that they left a permanent impression on my mother; always reminding her of those childhood visits to her grandmother’s home.

In the 1990’s when I was growing up, Mum went to a lot of trouble to identify the Flowering Currant (from a distant memory) and then source one. They are hardly common. Somehow she eventually found a nursery that stocked them and bought one. I seem to recall the first specimen not doing especially well but by this stage I was old enough (and interested enough) to take cuttings competently and so we grew a new one and tried it in another spot, where it did much better.

Flower up close
Close-up detail of the blooms of the Flowering Currant.

Many years later when I bought a home of my own, I was keen to grow one. For me, it is a reminder of my mother and her struggle to get her flowering currant. So I took a cutting off hers.

What I like about flowering currants is the proliferation of blooms right at the end of winter. The blossoming of flowers usually coincides with the emergence of beautiful trilobed apple green leaves. I have a poor sense of smell so the perfume is inconsequential but the display is lovely.

Flowers and foliage
Flower and foliage detail on a Flowering Currant.

I was a bit luckier than Mum because I found a good spot for my plant the first time around. Mine is planted beside the house and faces south-west. It gets shade until about midday and gets sun thereafter. It endures the harsh Australian heat well but warmer summers will cause some of the older leaves to look a bit ratty by late February.

Foliage and flowers
The floral display on a Flowering Currant is hard to beat.

In these troubling times, it’s nice to have these reminders that not all in the world is bad. There is beauty everywhere. Sometimes it’s right under our noses.



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