Scent in the Garden – August

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I do sense the height of summer is starting to fade. Daylight is shortening and the weather….well! This is when the cracks start to appear in my aim for year round performance from my scented shrub border.

As the last of the honey-scented buddleia flowers get browned off, and Clethra and Caryopteris are still to oblige us, Trachelospermum jasminoides is filling the gap. It opens its pure white blooms and pumps out its strong, heady perfume. Its cousin, Trachelospermum asiaticum, on its partner trellis, has decided not to bless us with flowers this year. Its creamy flowers are not so reliable or abundant as jasminoides.

All is not lost, though. The annuals and tender perennials are delivering what they promised.

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Mmm! My “Black Forest Gateau”!
The Chocolate Cosmos and cherry scented Heliotrope are growing away well, making a tasty-scented display at the back door. I’m sure you know what I mean! They have both performed so well. I do hope I can overwinter them, especially the Chocolate cosmos. I’ve never managed it yet.

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I wouldn’t want to have a summer without Night Scented Stocks! They bring back such precious memories of bygone holidays, immediately transporting me back to the Cotswolds. I have to admit they are not the most attractive of flowers. They have a tendency to have very soft, floppy stems (at least I’ve found that in our garden) and the tiny lilac-White blooms are so small and simple. They don’t even open properly until the evening, but when they do …..Wow! How can such a strong, vanilla perfume emanate from such a small, unassuming flower? It carries all round the garden on a warm evening, leaving the unaware wondering where the scent is coming from. I sow seeds every year in the top of the four large pots on each post of the pergola, that are home to its climbers. Its floppy habit cascades over the rims and they are in prime position for evenings outdoors.

In my search for perfume, elsewhere in the garden, I’ve started sniffing perennials! I’m sure it’s not illegal! Sometimes you can find scent in unexpected places.

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This is our native meadowsweet, or Filipendula, found wild in damp places, such as riverbanks. It is supposedly the original source of salicylic acid or aspirin. These wonderful candy floss flower heads have a soft, sweet perfume. So unlike aspirin!

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Phlox are well known for their perfumed flowers. This rich, deep purple one, “Nicky”, is at its peak, adding its contribution to the grass garden, alongside grasses and late-flowering perennials. It looks particularly good in combination with fennel.

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Good old fennel! Such a good plant! From its aniseed scented and flavoured feathery leaves, to its airy umbels of golden flowers, with spicy seeds, it performs on all levels. Too good for just the herb garden!

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Echinops ritro, or globe thistles, are loved by the bees, as you can see. But take a sniff and you might love them too! A soft perfume but lovely.

What I am missing is one of my favourite scented shrubs – Perovskia atriplicifolia. I have been growing it for many years, but now the back garden has become too shady for it to do so well. I have been waiting for the right time to replant some of the front garden. By that, I mean clearing the existing planting by the house, prior to it being repainted. That done, I should now have the perfect sunny spot to plant some new plants.

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I think they look so much better planted en masse, in groups of at least three.They then create a beautiful lilac haze at this time of year enhanced by their white stems. The scent comes from their tapered glaucous leaves, which smell, when rubbed, of sage, hence their other name of Russian Sage. Ok, somewhat titchy just now, but I’m hoping they will love their new position and romp away. I’ve planted them behind a row of aromatic lavender and I’m hoping for a lovely aromatic combo to welcome us home.

While out front, may I digress a bit? Eucalyptus does fall into the category of scented shrubs, I’m sure. But I do want to show you how beautifully it’s shedding its bark.

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We still have much to look forward to.

How’s your garden smelling? Please share it with us. I’m looking for suggestions for helping me to bridge the gap!

Thank you to Wellywoman and Backlane notebook, for coming up with the idea.
It’d be great if you could join in!

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14 thoughts on “Scent in the Garden – August

    1. thelonggardenpath Post author

      Mine usually starts flowering in July, shortly after the Jasmine. I never knew it could flower so much earlier. I assume it’s the warmer weather. It is a gorgeous perfume, I’m sure you agree!

      Reply
  1. Cathy

    Thanks for sharing your smelly plants – it is something I am becoming increasingly aware of in the garden but don’t have enough of it, not without sticking my nose inside blooms that is. I love the colour of Nicky – must look out for that. Interesting to hear your comparison of trachelospermum – I was given asiaticum by mistake (they meant it to be jasminoides) which is still handsome but a shame it is not as floriferous as its cousin. I am off now to smell my echinops!

    Reply
    1. thelonggardenpath Post author

      Hope you enjoyed your Echinops! Be warned though – sniffing can be addictive! Not that that’s a bad thing – quite the opposite! We must try to convert you. You should be off to a good start with all your roses.
      It is a bit disappointing that T. asiaticum is not as free-flowering as jasminoides, but in its defence, its evergreen leaves turn scarlet when the temperatures drop in the winter. One up on its cousin! They make a nice pairing.

      Reply
  2. mattb325

    With its yucca and Eucalypt, the front garden looks so different from the back garden! Phlox is such a delightful plant and really love that Chocolate Cosmos (I’ve never tried to overwinter them – it would be interesting to see if they perform well the second year)

    Reply
  3. thelonggardenpath Post author

    I suppose it is. The planting style in the front has been dictated by the yucca, which was there when we moved in. There was no way we were attempting to remove it, as we had no access to full armour! đŸ˜‰
    The front garden is sunny with dry, sandy soil, giving ideal conditions for Mediterranean style planting, which complements the yucca well.
    However, the back is more sheltered and shady, especially as the shrub planting, started over 20 years ago, is now maturing and becoming quite large, especially, what was once, an ash sapling. In fact, I think severe culling is required!

    Reply
  4. Chloris

    I am a bit late this month Ali, but I have got round to the Scent in the Garden post at last. Writing these posts really makes you go around sniffing everything, but I never thought of sniffing Echinops. I will try tomorrow. I love the scent of Heliotrope I don’t know why I haven’t got any this year.
    Well, I wonder what we will find to sniff next month. i
    Here is my post. https://thebloominggarden.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/scent-in-the-garden-august/

    Reply
  5. thelonggardenpath Post author

    I’m definitely an addict to sniffing! And Heliotrope has to be one of the best! It’s been a few years since I’ve had one in the garden – let’s hope I can find one again next year,

    Reply
  6. casa mariposa

    After 12 years of chronic sinus problems, I think I’ve lost some of my sense of smell. I’m always looking for scented plants but often have to stick my nose right in them to detect any fragrance. But I can smell the lilies from next door!

    Reply
    1. thelonggardenpath Post author

      Oh, poor you! Mind you, some plants do hang on to their perfume, making you get your nose in, while others are a bit more free with their scent – like next door’s lilies. I can’t imagine a garden without scent! Something would seem missing!

      Reply

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