Category Archives: The Scented Path

Scent in the Garden – September

imageThe last day of the month. Where has September gone? I must confess to being rather preoccupied this month, with no time to read or write. Even gardening took a back seat.

We created mayhem by ripping out built-in wardrobes and painting the floorboards in our bedroom. In the midst of this mess, we took a week’s holiday in, what I always used to consider, sunny Suffolk – a wet week that, thankfully, didn’t dampen our fun. And, of course, the rugby World Cup has started!

But enough about me! We have restored order and I have rediscovered my clothes, that have been buried for the past month. I am now able to change my shoes! So I can turn my attention back to the garden.

I’m afraid the scent in the garden this month hasn’t been overly exciting. Mainly stragglers and single blooms. One chocolate cosmos flower, and a single Jasmine bloom, still able to pack a perfumed punch.

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The sweet peas in the allotment are still flowering away, as are the night scented stocks in the pergola pots. That’s one thing about annuals – they do flower forever!

The Trachelospermun jasminoides is still going strong, too. It’s done so well.

Sadly, my Clethra “Hummingbird” is showing no sign of flowering this year. I moved it from its pot and planted it in the Scented shrub border, to fill a gap in the flowering period. I thought I was doing it a favour, but obviously not.  It is supposed to cope with shade. As for my Clematis rehderiana, which is romping away through the surrounding shrubs, it is still not blessing us with its lovely, lemon bells. I’m still waiting to experience its cowslip perfume.

However, another clematis, Clematis flammula, pictured at the top of its post, has not let us down, and is rewarding a sniff, with a hint of hawthorn. I’m just waiting now, for its partner, Lonicera “Belgica”, to join it.

There have been some new blooms this month, though.

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Caryopteris clandonensis, with its fluffy, clear blue blooms, is in flower. Mind you, it’s not the flowers, but the silvery leaves that are scented – like mint a bit, when they are rubbed. This poor little shrub seems unfazed by still being in its pot, awaiting a rethink of the border. I feel many of the shrubs are under performing and a revamp may have to be considered. I suspect removal of the problematic ash will be needed!

I digress!

Scent was also provided by a new shrub I bought – Cestrum parqui. Not the most pleasant perfume from the leaves during the day, but the perfume when night falls, is lovely and heady! Its flowers are tiny lime green tubes, but they were short lived by the time I bought it, so I wasn’t able to get a photo. It can be tender so needs to be protected during cold spells, so is awaiting a container. Hopefully, I will be able to appreciate it for longer next year.

It looks like some of my roses may join in soon, with a second flush of blooms, namely “Brave Heart” and “Alec’s Red”

"Braveheart"

“Braveheart”

"Alec's Red"

“Alec’s Red”


And that’s it! I wonder what next month will hold?

How does your garden smell? Do share with us! It would be lovely if you could join in. I love seeing scented plants!

Thanks to Wellywoman and Backlane notebook for starting this off!

I will end with an apology – for being late again, but better late than never!
And for this being a rushed post. You see, I’m off now to Cardiff to the World Cup! 😀

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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!

Scent in the Garden – July

Clockwise from top left -  Sweet pea; Buddleia; Jasminum officinalis; Jasminum beesianum

Clockwise from top left –
Sweet pea; Buddleia; Jasminum officinalis; Jasminum beesianum

The baton that June laid down, has been most definitely picked up by July, and is now off and running.

The July scented garden has all the usual suspects – roses, honeysuckles, sweet peas, lavender, pinks and Jasmine. The camera has gone into overtime and the volume of photos now, necessitates the use of montages, to display them all!

Some of our roses, missed the bus in June, and have now caught the next one.

Clockwise from top left -  Rosa eglanteria; Rosa gallica officinalis; Rose "Silver Anniversary"; Rosa "Albertine"

Clockwise from top left –
Rosa eglanteria; Rosa gallica officinalis; Rose “Silver Anniversary”; Rosa “Albertine”

But I still maintain, that Philadelphus most definitely give roses a run for their money when it comes to perfume. We have two – the giant, clumsy mock orange, rescued from a supermarket shelf, claiming to be “Virginal”, and the smaller, more delicate, “Sybille”. Of the two, “Sybille” has the better perfume, and its bubblegum scent carries all around the garden.

Top- Philadelphus "Sybille" Bottom - Philadelphus "Virginal"

Top- Philadelphus “Sybille”
Bottom – Philadelphus “Virginal”

For scent in the garden, nothing can beat lavender. It shouts the Mediterranean – even though L. angustifolia is English lavender! I love it! I grow it wherever I can, in pots, as well as in the borders. In common with other aromatic herbs, it gives us perfume all year round from its leaves – the flowers are a bonus! This lavender, “Hidcote” with its dark purple flowers, looks particularly good alongside the yellow froth of Alchemilla Mollis.

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Other aromatic herbs are adding to their appeal by starting to give us flowers, as well.

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Our Honeysuckle “Belgica” is still going great guns, and has been joined with a few pals ….

Top- Lonicera "Belgica" Bottom L. - Lonicera delavayii ; R. - Honeysuckle from next door

Top- Lonicera “Belgica”
Bottom L. – Lonicera delavayii ; R. – Honeysuckle from next door

My potted pinks are giving me particular pleasure on the patio.

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I do have a few other more unusual gems, though.

Top - Zenobia pulverulenta "Blue Skies" Bottom L. - Escallonia Iveyi; R. - Calycanthus floridus

Top – Zenobia pulverulenta “Blue Skies”
Bottom L. – Escallonia Iveyi; R. – Calycanthus floridus

More on those another time!

Now, I must show you an idea I “borrowed” from the local pub!

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They had pots of herbs and flowers in a small trough on a table in the garden. It got me thinking of a line of troughs along our outdoor dining table containing scented flowers, and herbs for picking and adding to food. What do you think? Add some jars for tea lights, a pot of “touchy-feely” chamomile and our recently acquired Kaffir lime, and that’s a lovely table centre piece.

July’s scent, though, has not been restricted to the garden.
Some of it found its way indoors.

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How’s your garden smelling?

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!

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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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But it’s not all about shrubs.

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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.

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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?

Scent in the Garden – April

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What a difference a month makes! Gone (or almost gone) are the winter flowering shrubs of last month. However, our Coronilla “Citrina” is determined to prove me wrong, by defying the seasons and to continue flowering. It has been, since last autumn.

But, however valuable the long flowering shrubs are, it is nice to move on.

We inherited several shrubs when we first moved in, including two cherries of unknown variety. They were to provide a backdrop to our scented shrub border and so it’s nice to realise that, when in bloom, they have a very delicate scent. And, as you can see above, they can be stunning against a blue sky!

Elsewhere in the garden, there is so much scent to share with you. But where do I start? Ok the scented shrub border itself.

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I love watching these Viburnum flowers develop! This is Viburnum carlesii “Aurora”. The buds start off looking like clusters of tiny rubies, before they open into domes of pinkish white flowers, that have the clove perfume similar to pinks. They have the added bonus of autumn coloured leaves, too.

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Our Daphne tangutica has just started flowering. This evergreen shrub starts flowering now, with tiny white flowers, opening from purple buds. It has a strong perfume, with a heady scent so similar to Jasmine. And it does repeat flower, over the summer. For me it flowers again in June. And so more pleasure!

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Osmanthus delavayii is a wonderful shrub! It has small, dark green, evergreen leaves, that are well suited to hard clipping, making it a good subject for hedging. It has tiny white flowers, that smother the plant and has such a strong perfume that will follow you round the garden – well, a bit of the way, anyway!

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Skimmia japonica “Rubella” is regarded as a stalwart of the Winter garden, by virtue of its ruby red buds. But it’s now, in April, that these buds open to produce cones of sweetly scented flowers. This variety is male – you need to have both male and female to produce its lovely red winter berries. Here we grow the female “Red Princess” to this end, although its flowers are not so impressive.

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The scent doesn’t end here. I recently planted Clematis armandii “Apple Blossom” to cover the pergola over the dining area. It was in bud then, but now it’s flowered for the first time and what a perfume! Strong, sweet and almondy. It has long, evergreen, leathery leaves which should grow to partially cover the area.

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In the Woodland Garden, our unknown Pieris is looking amazing now, with its large clusters of little white Chinese lanterns. I had heard rumours of Pieris being scented but hadn’t noticed any perfume. At least, that was until I decided to cut a sprig for an Easter arrangement, and then I noticed its delicate perfume.

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Even the Allotment is playing its part.

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Admittedly, the edging of herbs will be scented continually, but I felt that the aromatic Rosemary bush, decked out in its blue flowers, was worthy of showing here.

And at the entrance to the Allotment, we have a beautiful Akebia quinata scrambling over one side of an arch.

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Its tiny chocolate flowers are just starting to open, from their attractive buds, that look like little bunches of grapes. They look like chocolate, and they smell like chocolate! Can you get any better than that? 🙂

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Love it or hate it, the smell of Box is another one available all year round. Here, it also has the fresh lime green flush of its flowers and new leaves.

I must finish with a much overlooked scent in the garden, that of newly cut grass. A fellow blogger (Thank you, Biking Gardener!) commented on my last post about the smell of a freshly cut lawn, and that got me thinking. It’s definitely worth including in the Scent in the Garden meme!

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Thank you to Louise at Welly Woman and Sue at Backlane Notebook for hosting this meme.

How’s your garden smelling?