Our roses this year have put on a magnificent display. As you can imagine, the scent, walking through the garden has been intoxicating. Mind you, the roses haven’t had it all their own way.
There’s been a bit of a scent battle going on in the Cottage garden of late. The lawn has become a bit like a boxing ring! “On my right, we have …. THE ROSES!” “And on my left, we have…. PHILADELPHUS!” It all depends on the direction you’re ambling in, or the direction of the breeze, as to who wins that round!
Or, since it is Wimbledon fortnight, a bit like a Lawn tennis competition. “ROSES to serve ….. Fifteen love” “Game, Set and Match to ….”
(It’s also an excuse to show you some of our strawberries!)
To put you in the picture, the Cottage garden centres around the lawn. On the right is our cottage border, with the roses and other lovely cottagey plants. On the left is the scented shrub border, home to (obviously) the majority of our scented shrubs, which has been planted with the aim of providing scent all year round – which, I’m pleased to say, it does pretty much achieve! Here is home to our Philadelphus – hence the battlefield!
So back to the battle of the scents, between our Roses and our Philadelphus. The alternative name of Mock Orange will give some idea of the serious competition between the two.
We have two different Philadelphus
“Sybille” is a lovely, delicate shrub, no more than 3-4 ft high, with single white flowers, which have a purple blotch at the centre. The scent is gorgeous – like bubblegum or tutti-frutti!
“Virginal” is a different beast altogether. A very vigorous grower, that, despite pruning as per the manual, seems to go berserk, reaching heights of 8-10 ft. It is ungainly as a shrub, and if it wasn’t for its showers of beautifully fragrant (a different scent to Sybille, by my nose!) pure white flowers, it wouldn’t be worth its keep. But for now, it’s easily forgiven. It just needs a firm hand!
And waiting in the wings, or front garden…
I have to take you here to update you on what’s happening now. The focal point is the Eucalyptus, now starting to reveal its magnificent bark, as well as its aromatic leaves, though it does need a bit of heat to appreciate the latter. Under its canopy is a Phlomis fruticosa, which is coming back after a severe haircut. It has felted, silvery aromatic foliage, similar to sage, but the flowers, although not scented themselves, make a dramatic statement – whorls of yellow flowers arranged around the stem, that give way to sculptural seed heads.
But, as to the battle of the scents, who is your money on? Game, Set and Match to Rose? Or to Sybille? 😉