Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Room with a View – In the Summertime.

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At last! The first summer after installing our much longed for French doors, has arrived. We can now throw the doors open and be free to wander in and out at our pleasure.

Of course, part of the envisaged scene, was us sitting at these thrown open doors, drinking a glass of something cool and refreshing! So that necessitates a table and chairs. We have recently bought a new “Bistro Style” garden set, to augment our permanent seating, when needed. And now, its natural home must be by our French doors.

What a lovely focal point it creates! Both inside and out!

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A potted Bay tree usually resides in this corner, softening the harsh junction of fence with house wall. I’m training a scented honeysuckle (one already present in the garden, possibly L. periclymenum) across the trellis, so, all in all, a pretty, perfumed picture is starting to emerge.

But the table needs a centrepiece!

O.K., a flowering plant in a pot, should do the trick! Scented, of course! You know me! A cherry scented Heliotrope would be ideal. I had a pretty cream metal planter, from a Valentine’s Day plant arrangement from Mr. Chef, which would be a perfect pot container.

Then I thought of my cream metal bucket, from another plant arrangement, this time for Mother’s Day. That would complement the scene yet further. Last year’s creamy-lemon viola looked the part, with its spring flush of flowers flopping over the top. But it was nearing the end if its display, and so I was on the lookout for a summer replacement. How about some chocolate? Waiting in the wings is a gorgeous Chocolate Cosmos. What girl, besotted with scent in the garden, could resist?

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Mmmm! Black Forest gateau!

Now all I need, is another cream container, for the Sweet William plant I’ve got my eye – and nose – on to finish it all off!

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Here’s to the summer! Cheers!

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Scent in the Garden – June

"Alec's Red"

“Alec’s Red”

June. The start of the Rose season, so there’s no excuse for a lack of scent in any garden. Even if you do not (yet!) intentionally plant for scent, roses are represented in many gardens. Hopefully, if perfumed varieties were chosen, you are now at the start of a feast for both the eyes and the nose.

So I’m pleased to start this month’s selection with this blood-red beauty, “Alec’s Red”. This Hybrid Tea rose, (not my normal choice of Rose, I must confess) I bought last month, in memory of my dear Dad. Mind you, it should really be “Alex’s Rose” – with an X – but it’s close enough! And it’s opened beautifully today – just in time for Father’s Day!

My penchant, rose-wise, is for David Austin’s English roses. I love them! They have all the gorgeous old fashioned qualities that, to me, are so important in a rose – full, voluptuous blooms, and, of course, the most gorgeous rose scent. All pink and perfumed!

Clockwise from top R. - "Sharifa Asma", "Braveheart",  "The Crocus Rose", "Gertrude Jekyll"

Clockwise from top R. – “Sharifa Asma”, “Braveheart”, “The Crocus Rose”, “Gertrude Jekyll”

All these, apart from “Braveheart”, are English roses. And taking a nose full of Sharifa and Gertrude is pure Turkish Delight!

Roses are even joining in with their unscented bedfellows to provide a dramatic display in our hedge.

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And I’m pleased to say, it’s not all about roses, despite their beauty. So back to my scented shrubs.

Just going over now is our Wisteria floribunda “Alba”.

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Not quite the display it was last year I’m afraid, but its long, pure white racemes of flowers are still a joy!

Good old honeysuckle! Our native woodbine is anything but “common” – that perfume is totally exotic!

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I’m so pleased with this simply magnificent display. In previous years, this first flush of flowers has been blighted by attack – by what, I’ve never worked out! The opening petals seemed to wither and drop. Nothing is visible. Thankfully, a second flush, later in the year is always unaffected, so leading me to think it’s a pest problem rather than a cultural one. But this year, the honeysuckle seems to be winning the battle!

And, while we’re on the topic of native, this dusky version of our Elder, is starting to show promise.

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This is Sambucus nigra “Gerda”, planted last year. It has wonderful dark, near black foliage, looking good against its pink umbels of flowers. Scent? Just like Elderberries!

In the sunny front garden,

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we have Elaeagnus “Quicksilver” flowering. Though the tiny yellow flowers are hard to spot, the perfume is not. The sweet heavy scent, pervades the front garden. Lovely, when getting out of the car!

Nestled alongside, low growing Prostanthera cuneata, or Australian Mint Bush, is also in flower, with pretty white flowers streaked with lilac.

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It’s not the flowers, however, providing the scent. The leaves of this aromatic shrub give off a strong scent. Not of mint, to my nose, but maybe mint with a strong hint of thyme! Very aromatic!

Back to the back garden, and some flowers, not normally celebrated for their perfume, are smelling just as totally gorgeous as they look.

From top to bottom - "Quechee", "Jane Phillips", "Cable Car".

From top to bottom – “Quechee”, “Jane Phillips”, “Cable Car”.

Irises are revered in the garden for their strong structural leaves, and their magnificent, albeit fleeting, flowers in an amazing array of colours. But did you know that many are also scented? This collection all smell deliciously of chocolate-orange!

And how’s this for a “And finally”?

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This tiny shrub in a metal bucket was bought last week, from the Gardeners World show. It’s a Kaffir lime, here displayed among other pots of aromatic herbs. It has the typical citrus flower perfume, although not nearly so strong, and the leaves can be used in cooking. That’s me AND Mr. Chef both happy with this one! It’s supposed to be fairly hardy down to 0, so, brought indoors over cold spells, we hope to keep it going. Fingers xd!

How’s your garden smelling?

And thanks to Wellywoman and Backlane Notebook, for coming up with the idea.

You should join us!

I Went to Ashwood and…..

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….saw the boss’s garden!

Several times a year, John Massey, the owner of Ashwood nursery, opens his garden for charity. In all the years we have lived here, as well as been ardent visitors to the nursery, we have never been to his open garden. How dreadful! There’s always something else going on – and the last time we planned to visit, it chucked down with rain! But, at last, a couple of weeks ago, we managed it!

We were definitely not disappointed. Talk about an understatement! It was so much more than we had anticipated.

It is a beautiful 3 acre garden, set on the banks of the Staffordshire and Worcestersire canal. It’s a garden full of island beds and sinuous grass paths, under a wonderful selection of mature trees. These beds are burgeoning with the most beautiful collection of choice shrubs, grasses and perennials. As if the mixed planting is not interest enough, the borders are punctuated with incredible statues and features.

We took so many photos, that it would be impossible to show you them all! I’ll just have to try to select a choice few.

With such a predominance of shrubs, I was amazed at the amount of colour there was, and not just from flowers. The foliage played its part too.

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And the bark.

There were the most sumptuous and amazing flowers, such as this paeony.

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The colour combinations were stunning!

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This scented shrub is a new one to me. And I must find out what it is! Any ideas?

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A beautiful pond, complete with waterfall and deck, was backed by a grand rockery.

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I loved the loggia! It had such a Mediterranean feel, so full of scent.

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But, taking a left turning on arrival, will take you to a natural wildlife meadow. They’ve paid particular attention to wildlife, by incorporating features such as log piles, and beehives.

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And a tree that looks like it stepped straight out of the Hobbit!

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What a peaceful, idyllic view of the Staffordshire countryside!

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I’ll leave you with some more shots of the imaginative planting and features.

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If you ever get the chance, take it!