I found out what my mystery honeysuckle is today!
I eventually got around to taking a sample over to Wisley’s spectacularly useful Advisory Service a couple of weeks ago. For those who don’t know, this service is perhaps the most useful thing you get along with your RHS membership: you get to take any problem, and any unidentified plant along to your nearest RHS garden (or you can send it in) and you have instant access to the country’s leading plant experts to identify it for you. I always have the “I’m not worthy” feeling when I go in there – why would they want to be bothered with my humble little garden? – but they’re unfailingly friendly and extremely helpful.
Anyway – back to the honeysuckle. It turns out to be Lonicera xylosteum – a new one on me. In his email the RHS botanist tells me it’s “a native shrub sometimes known as fly honeysuckle… It normally forms a medium-sized, deciduous shrub producing small, creamy-white flowers in early summer. These may be followed by red berries in the autumn. Although of very restricted native distribution, it is grown in gardens and has become naturalised throughout the country.”
I love having an Unusual Plant in my garden. It makes me feel like a trustee of something important – something to do with there not being that many around, but one of them’s in my garden. I’ll get ideas about National Collections next…