Scent in the Garden – May

Coronilla glauca "Citrina"

Coronilla glauca “Citrina”

Oh, dear! Here I go again, apologising for my lateness!
I’m blaming an unexpected heavy workload, but I’ve made sure it has not stopped me enjoying my garden, and all its perfume. And of course, there’s the unmissable Chelsea! I made sure I made time for that!

So now it’s time to show you my highlights for May.

I make no apologies for starting with an old, well covered favourite, Coronilla citrina. This started flowering last November, and it’s gone from strength to strength, now flowering better then ever! It’s lovely perfume still pervades the front garden.


Our Akebia quinata, which started blooming last month, has gone on to make a marvellous, chocolatey display in both colour and scent. I do believe it’s the best it’s ever been! We have it growing in the Scented Shrub border as well, where it roams to its heart content, reaching dizzy, unattainable heights, but our second plant over the pergola is much more accessible for the nose! Thankfully!

The Scented Shrub Border has other delights to show.


Abelia mosanensis is quite an unassuming plant, with tiny pinky-white trumpet flowers, that smell of clove pinks. It’s just starting to show its flowers now.


Our unknown Rowan tree, already there when we arrived, is not out of place in the Scented Shrub border, by virtue of its huge, creamy white flower heads, not unlike elderflower, but smelling of hawthorn. You might love the smell, you might not! I love it – to me it’s the perfume of May!


What better under planting to the Scented Shrub border than Lily-of-the-valley. It’s really doing well in the bottom corner, carpeting the ground under the Rose and Amelanchier. I don’t need to describe its perfume to you, I’m sure.

The scented shrubs are not confined to their own border. That’s just not big enough. They creep in elsewhere, too.


In the Woodland garden, Fothergilla major is bravely showing its white bottlebrush flowers. Sadly, it’s still struggling from its recent move, and is in need of some TLC!


Last month’s Clematis armandii has put on some new growth, which has already resulted in some new flowers, albeit smaller, less showy and, sadly, less scented!

Our cherished lilac display is somewhat disappointing this year. The white one in our front hedge has been over zealously pruned (not by myself, I hasten to add) resulting in a solitary bloom, while our lilac Lilac(!), in the Woodland garden is flowering its socks off – in the neighbours’ gardens! I’m having to make do with stolen pleasures, which have also been depleted this year. The overhanging branches, which gave us so much pleasure – and vases – has had to be severely cut back to accommodate our new shed – and to save our heads!


But it’s not all about shrubs.


Sweet cicely looks, and smells, lovely at this time. It looks so fitting for this time of year, resembling cow parsley, with its delicate, ferny foliage and white flower umbels, with a lovely delicate perfume. It wouldnt look out of place in a woodland or wild flower setting, but we grow it as part of our shadier herb garden. Its stalks can be used as a sweetener – good with rhubarb.

And it’s the start of the Bearded Iris season! So many of them have wonderful perfume from their magnificent blooms.


This is my rogue Iris from last year. The nursery claimed it may be “Immorality”, but I’m not convinced. Anyway, it’s beautiful and with a lovely powdery perfume.

And that’s just the start! So many more buds to come, and not just the irises. Can’t wait till next month!

The whole garden just smells overwhelmingly of hawthorn. Where from, I do not know! Our native hedge and that of our neighbours have no sign of hawthorn flowers. It must be our Rowan tree!

How’s your garden smelling?

And thank you, Wellywoman and Backlane notebook for coming up with the idea!
Why not join in?

8 thoughts on “Scent in the Garden – May

  1. Chloris

    A lovely post Ali. I was late this month and wondered whether you had forgotten. It is such a lovely idea for a meme, I wish more people would join in. Your Abelia is a new one on me, I will look out for it. I forgot to sniff my irises. Yours is a beauty.

  2. thelonggardenpath Post author

    Thank you, Chloris! The post was not forgotten, but being written in my head, while dealing with other things. And scent in the garden always helps! But now, it’s time to play catchup, both on my blog and in my garden. I noticed your Scent in the garden post earlier. I’m off to read it properly – once I’ve finished in the garden, of course!
    The Abelia, I came across in a nursery and the perfume really caught my attention so, of course, I had to have it! I’m looking forward to the rest of my irises flowering, some of which smell of chocolate and chocolate-orange! Yummy!

  3. thebikinggardener

    Lots of lovely things there 🙂 The abelia is new to me too – looks a gem. Re. the iris. It certainly is not ‘Immortality’ but if it was bought from somewhere that sells remontant (reblooming) iris it would confirm my suspicions that it is ‘English Cottage’. It looks just like it though I cannot see the beards – which should be white and lemon. It is one of the earlier iris and is a good remontant too. I would put my money on it being that.

  4. thelonggardenpath Post author

    Thank yoh for your feedback re my rogue Iris. It arrived instead of “Deep Black” which I’d ordered – close! The nursery were good, sending me the correct replacement, although small, along with a full size alternative, “Sable”. They identified the imposter, but I thought that was pure white. Unfortunately the nursery has now closed due to retirement, so I can’t check its list again. But it does have white-yellow beards, so you may be right! Thank you!
    Ps I’ve just googled it and it looks just right!

  5. mattb325

    All of the shrubs are looking lovely! I’ve not seen that abelia before, but being deciduous and reasonably small, could be well worth a try – I will have to keep my eye out for it 🙂

  6. Julie

    Lovely post, you have lots to make your garden smell delightful. Your Akebia quinata is much further on than mine and looks wonderful on your arch, mine foolishly is against a fence where unless I lean right in can’t catch its fragrance.

  7. thelonggardenpath Post author

    Thank you, Julie. My original Akebia was trained up a tree and soon became out of sensory reach. But I was lucky enough to find a rooted layer, which I transplanted to the arch, where it’s looking, and smelling good. It is vigorous though.


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