Category Archives: The Scented Path

The Beautiful Calm

There’s something strangely beautiful about this time of year.

I love the calm that follows the hustle and bustle of the festive season. There’s something nice about ” getting back to normal” and that’s finding the time again for other things.

Now I must admit that our stove is more appealing just now than the great outdoors, with this spell of cold, damp, dreary weather, but it’s well worth making the effort. After all the Christmas tree had to be disposed of.

Five minutes with the secateurs reduced the tree to the trunk and the base. Final result is another log to edge my woodland bed and a bit more firewood for aforementioned stove. ( The branches were recycled courtesy of our green recycling bin.)

So now with that job ticked off my “getting back to normal” to-do list, I had my stroll down the long garden path!

It was all looking decidedly damp and disheveled. The winter weather has taken its toll – flattened grasses and a worryingly, sorry-looking Helwingia shrub, which had been doing so well.

But looking past these set backs, all the wonderful signs of regrowth are starting to appear.

The first crocus shoots poking through….

….and the rhubarb (Oops! I need to weed!)…

And of course, the snowdrops nestling alongside an unfurling hellebore – “Anna’s Red” – under the coloured dogwood stems.

And with all the delight of the gorgeous fragrances wafting out from the Lonicera fragrantissima and Chimonanthus praecox (among several others) shown at the top, it was, in all, a most rewarding stroll.

That’s the strange beauty of this time of year.

It’s hard to hibernate when the garden is waking up! 😀

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I Went to Ashwood and….

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….bought another scented shrub!

I’ve almost finished housing my poor, little homeless treasures, and you may well be thinking “Here she goes again!”

But this was no impulse buy! Cytisus battandieri (now renamed Argyrocytisus battandieri) has been on my wish list for ages  – nay, years – ever since reading that its flowers smelt of pineapple. Hence its popular name of Pineapple (or Moroccan) broom. I even have a container ready, and have earmarked a suitable spot – how disciplined and restrained is that?!

It’s a truly beautiful shrub! Apart from its scented flowers, it has lovely trifoliate, glaucous leaves, that have a delicate, downy coating. So not only does it please the senses with its beautiful looks and perfume, the leaves and flower buds are so very tactile – like stroking silk!

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It likes a sunny, sheltered position, in a dry soil,  so should do well against our west facing brick wall, especially now that there is more light in the garden, since the loss of the overhanging ash tree. It is often grown trained against a wall, due to its lax habit. Indeed, the best example of this lovely plant that I’ve seen in the flesh, is grown against a brick wall in my brother’s new garden. What a specimen!  I hope mine will like its blue glazed pot and do well.

And now, less than one week on, it has started flowering, and looking and smelling gorgeous! Yes, it really does smell of pineapple!

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How’s that for an “impulse” buy?! Truly worthy of its place next to our bench!

Scent in the Garden – On A Warm, Sunny Day

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At last! Tuesday brought some warm sunshine! And time to enjoy it and make good use of it!

As you know, I have been threatening some far reaching changes for some time now. Last week, the 25 year old ash tree, was finally felled, leaving a stump – and a mushroom! Along with that, the garden reshuffle has moved on from the “thinking about it” phase, to the “getting on with it” phase. So the warm, sunshine made for a perfect day to make some progress.

It wasn’t just the sunshine that made the hard slog such a pleasant experience, but also the adjacent Viburnum carlesii “Aurora” pumping out its perfume. The beautiful pink domes of flowers are quite plentiful this year, and so the scent of pinks kept wafting my way.

And while trudging up and down the garden, passing the Osmanthus delavayii rewarded me with another perfumed delight – this time more heady, like jasmine. The tiny, pure white trumpets, en masse, create a stunning effect against the dark green leaves.

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So I was distracted, and found myself, armed with my iPad, on a perfume hunt round the garden.

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Clematis armandii, which had opened its first buds shortly after we returned after New Year, has now reached its peak and is starting to go over. Its new shoots are waving around, threateningly, daring me to tie them in. Their soft perfume can be detected quite unexpectedly.

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Of course, true to form, the Coronilla in the front garden, was still blooming away happily. Such a pretty sight, with the lemon flowers set against its glaucous leaves.

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Here’s one I moved earlier! Elaeagnus umbellata was a victim of my reshuffle, moving from its cramped position snuggled up against a Philadelphus in the Scented Shrub border. Here, its delicate form will mingle with the perennials in what was originally the Medicinal herb bed, and its silvery leaves should provide a lovely backdrop to the bright pink blooms of Rosa gallica oficinallis (the “Apothecary’s rose”). Its tiny, powerfully scented flowers can still be spotted in the photo. And smelt in the garden!

So, as you can imagine, I didn’t achieve as much as I’d set out to do, but who cares! That’s what’s important about gardening – taking time to enjoy it, as well as to do it!

My Poor Little Homeless Babies!

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Poor little things! It’s not as if they’re unloved – far from it! Just one look, and I had to have them. And that’s the problem. The family is growing and must have a home.

Let me introduce you!
From left to right;

Escallonia “Iveyi”, Salvia “Senation Deep Rose”, Drimys lanceolata, Caryopteris clandonensis “Dark Knight”, Helwingia chinensis, Cestrum parqui, Pittosporum tobira, with a tiny hellebore seedling at the front.

Things appear uneventful on The Long Garden Path over recent weeks, with not much to report or write about, other than broken fence panels, which is of little interest to anyone. Activity levels outside have been far too low, with either the wind or incessant rain beating me, sending me scurrying indoors to the welcome warmth.

There have been some pleasures on the “walks round the estate”.

Winter scent, in the form of Clematis armandii ” Apple Blossom”

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and various Sarcococcas,

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and the early spring beauty in the Woodland.

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But the little grey cells have not hibernated. Indeed, they are working well, if nothing else is. They have long been pondering the problem. And so, now, there is an overhaul in the pipeline.
I think I’ve already mentioned tweeking the cottage border and adding in or moving, scented shrubs, which, hopefully will do better in a sunnier border. And now the “walks” have clarified where each will live.

Of course, this mental exercise has had a knock on effect, which will impinge on both the existing shrub border, and the Woodland. Will I ever resist moving my poor plants about and let them be?

The little grey cells have also pondered the Allotment, and improvements that can be made there. They have persuaded us to add two new raised beds – one for veg. and another one for more strawberries. You can never have too many strawberries!

So I have been shopping. A start has been made. Seeds have been bought and started off, and compost and soil improver stocked up on. Now all we need is some dry and, hopefully, warmer weather, to leap into action! (Or at least creep!)

Oh, but before I get carried away with excitement, I just have to go back to the aforementioned fence panels. None of this can sensibly be done till they are repaired!

Such is a gardener’s life!

Scent in the Garden – October

I’m afraid, there’s  not been much blooming in the garden this month to provide us with perfume.

There’s the last of the lavender.

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These lavenders, “Hidcote”, were planted earlier in the summer, in the sunny front garden. They’re settling in well and flowering nicely already. I love the dark purple flowers. They should be completed well by the paler Perovskia planted behind. The beauty of these two plants, is that they don’t need to flower to provide perfume. Like the lavender, Perovskia, too, has aromatic leaves.

And, of course, flowers don’t have the monopoly on scent. So many plants have scented, aromatic leaves and they provide the backbone to the scented garden. We all know the Mediterranean herbs well – Rosemary, sage, thyme and so on. Every well stocked garden should have these stalwarts, whether as decorative specimens, (just think of purple sage in a border!) or a as a dedicated herb garden. Brushing against the leaves gives a whiff of sunny climes!

At this time, when flowers are becoming more scarce, leaves are there to plug the gap. Apart from the obvious lavenders and herbs already mentioned, we have several other interesting plants who give us scent through their leaves. The Caryopteris, which has just stopped flowering, still has, for the moment, its aromatic foliage. Choisya ternata, Drymis and  Calycarpa are other shrubs that have scented leaves when rubbed. Did you know that, when crushed, Gaultheria procumbens (I know! It too, has had a name change! I think it’s now Pernettyia!) leaves smell of germolene? And that, when wet, the leaves of Rosa rubiginosa, the sweet briar rose, smells of apples?

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Oh, and there’s Cestrum parqui, but that’s not pleasant!

So all is not lost!

Autumn is all about foliage, mainly due to its myriad of colours.

Isn’t this gorgeous?

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This is Cercidiphyllum japonicum “Red Fox”, which have growing in a pot, under planted with the golden grass, Milium effusum, or Bowle’s golden grass, which complements this plants plum coloured foliage. But at this time of year its red leaves become a gorgeous mix of toffee shades. And that’s not all! The fallen leaves smell of candy Floss!

But, it has reached the time of year, where the scented flowering shrubs are heading towards their winter display.

Our wonderful Coronilla “Citrina” has started flowering again.

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I swear it can only have stopped flowering a couple of months ago!

Mahonia japonica’s racemes of lemon, perfumed flowers are just starting to open, and Viburnum farreri has its tiny “cotton wool” balls of pink, flowering too.

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Yes, summer is definitely gone and it’s all about winter now!

How’s your garden smelling this month? Do tell us!

And thank you to Wellywoman and Backlane Notebook, for starting this.