Tag Archives: Daphne

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?

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Scent in the Garden in March – For My 100th Post

Ypsilandra thibetica

Ypsilandra thibetica

I think it’s very fitting for me to be doing a post on scent in the garden, for my 100th post. After all, for me, it’s the highlight of my garden, and what governs my choices.

I’m joining in with Wellywoman’s meme on scent in the garden. I know I’m late with this – hope I’m not too late.

I must start with the hard to pronounce, and even harder to spell, Ypsilandra thibetica. The simple fact though, is that this looks and smells gorgeous! This perennial was introduced to me by a fellow blogger last year, and when Chloris described its violet tinged and violet scented flowers, I had to have it for my Scented Shrub border. I tracked it down at a nearby nursery, soon after, and since then, its clump of strappy, light green leaves has happily sat there, doing not much, till a few weeks ago when the flower buds started to form. You can imagine how excited I’ve been to experience its first flowering – at least for me. The white flower spikes, tinged with lilac, are like chunky bottle brushes! And it does have a lovely violet scent – although I do have to get down on my hands and knees to appreciate it! I hadn’t appreciated how good it would look nestled among the purple crocuses hidden from view when the Ypsilandra was planted.

Elsewhere, last month’s contributions are STILL going strong.

Mahonia japonica

Mahonia japonica

STILL pumping out its lovely, lily-of-the-valley perfume!
Lonicera fragrantissima

Lonicera fragrantissima

STILL producing even more of its delicious lemonade scented flowers!
Sarcococca humilis

Sarcococca humilis

STILL no change!
Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox

STILL hanging on, but fading now, both flowers and scent.
Coronilla glauca "Citrina"

Coronilla glauca “Citrina”

And STILL flowering as well as when it first started back in November.

I did fear there may not be much else new to show you.
Abeliophyllum distichum is just about flowering but the very tiny white flowers are very sparse and didn’t take kindly to photographing.

I realised the Daphne laureola had started flowering.

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The flowers are hard to spot, nestled under the plant’s dark, evergreen leaves, but they are worth looking for, with their lovely, lime-green flowers, with a delicate sweet scent.

The mini narcissus that had graced my eggcup, are looking lovely, spreading themselves about in the Woodland garden.

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These ones here, are, I think, “February Gold”.

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The ones that “Kingsley”‘s presiding over, are unknown, coming from a floral display and planted out.

But look what I almost missed!

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Look closely and you can just make out the remnants of Azara microphylla’s tiny yellow blooms. This was only planted last year, to replace one I lost, and hadn’t shown any signs of flowering – or so I thought! They were too small, too few and too low down to appreciate the vanilla “cake-like” perfume I happily remember from its predecessor.

And then, the most pleasant surprise!

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I planted Viola odorata as part of a decorative herb border, many years ago, and thought I had lost them. I thought they had been swamped out by a weedlike variety with no scent, but look what just popped up! Definitely Viola odorata – Mmm….!

I’ve enjoyed my 100 posts and have read and “met” many lovely people in the process! Thank you all!

How’s your garden smelling?

Come In and Have a Catchup!

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I’m sure we’ve all been lapping up this late summer weather. I certainly have! I’ve been “busy” walking round the “Estate”, appreciating and taking stock. There’s not too much of great urgency to do – just “pottering” – so it’s a good time of year, at the end of the summer, when things are settling down for the winter nap, to review the good and bad points, and take notes for next year.

The “Grass garden” this year, has had an explosion of growth and colour, but I fear that the grasses may be getting a bit crowded out, in the process. So that has been earmarked for a bit of readjustment next spring. I don’t want to tackle that now. I want to be able to appreciate the grasses and seed heads, in all their winter beauty.

The day’s task, however, were my two Fothergillas, that had recently been moved. They seem to be struggling. Fothergilla major is obviously in a far too dry and shady position, while its smaller, blue-leaved cousin is positively sulking. So out went the Viburnum opulus, with such a viburnum beetle problem, that its leaves were like cobwebs by summertime. No flowers, means no fruit and, as for autumn colour? Well, you need leaves for that! The Fothergilla was more deserving of its more open position. So we shall see how it fares, with a bit more sun and water. No more droopy leaves!
The truculent Fothergilla major “Blue Mist” is a much smaller specimen, growing only to 2-3 ft high, with beautiful glaucous leaves. They both have lovely scented bottle brush flowers in springtime. The solution? I have another lovely scented shrub growing in a pot, Clethra alnifolia “Hummingbird”. My thinking is that, as it grows taller than the Fothergilla, it may be better suited to its inclusion in the Scented shrub border, where it would fill a gap in the flowering calendar. The Fothergilla could then be rehoused in the, now vacant, blue glazed pot, which would set of this plant’s lovely blue foliage beautifully. It would also allow it to be grown in the ericaceous compost it prefers. So it would have to snap out of its sulk, now that it’s been pandered to!

Fothergilla major "Blue Mist"

Fothergilla major “Blue Mist”

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Looks better already!

I also planted up one of my latest acquisitions – Daphne x Napolitana “Meon”, a dwarf variety for a small gap in the scented shrub border, again with the plan of flowering at this “in-between” period between summer and autumn’s fragrant flowers. At a final height of only 18 inches, with tiny rose-pink flowers, it may be small in stature, but not in perfume. The other purchase, the Caryopteris, with its lovely aromatic glaucous leaves, and dark indigo blue flowers, is destined for the front garden, as it will need more sun, but as yet, it’s final position is undecided. That will need to wait for a bit longer.

Caryopteris x clandonensis "Dark Knight"

Caryopteris x clandonensis “Dark Knight”

That was the some total of the day’s “tweaking”. The rest of the day was spent appreciating, so let me share with you!

If you took notice of the archway, (at the start of the post) you can see it’s smothered in two different climbers – Clematis flammula and Lonicera belgica. I’ve been watching patiently for the clematis to start flowering, hoping it would coincide with the honeysuckle’s second flush. And it has come off! Just!

Clematis flammula

Clematis flammula

This is a very vigorous group 3 clematis, which means it flowers on new wood, so is easy to prune, by cutting hard back to about a foot from the ground, and it will make all this growth, in one season. It’s smothered in tiny white, starry flowers at this time, that smell of hawthorn. In fact, the arch, for a split second, can become a time tunnel, transporting you back in time to early summer!

Lonicera belgica

Lonicera belgica

This has to be one of the best summer scents in the garden! Lonicera belgica may be “commonplace” in our gardens, but its gorgeous scent, and unusual flowers with their lovely colouring, makes it seem exotic in my eyes. Sadly for us, its main flush of flowering early in the summer, amounts to nothing. The buds can cover the climber, but as they open they wither and die off. I believe it to be an infestation problem rather than cultural, as it’s second flush at this time is magnificent! I haven’t yet identified the culprit, but it’s found every one of the four plants we have in various places in the garden. Never mind, we can enjoy it now!

Clethra alnifolia "Humminbird"

Clethra alnifolia “Humminbird”

The recently transplanted Clethra is a lovely shrub, not often seen, I believe. This variety is a more compact variety than the species, growing to 3-4 ft. and it has the advantage of coping well with our shady conditions. More importantly, it flowers at a time when few other scented shrubs are in flower. It’s also known as the “Sweet pepper bush” and has sweetly scented bottle brush flowers, during August. It has gone over now, but its autumn golden yellow colouring is just starting.

I must say, that what our scented shrubs lack flower wise, at this time of year, is made up for with some magnificent autumn colouring.

If the Clethra was unknown to you, what about this?

Zenobia pulverulenta "Blue Skies"

Zenobia pulverulenta “Blue Skies”

What a mouthful that is! This is a beautiful shrub, with pure white new stems and glaucous, oval leaves. If you look closely, you should make out the small bell-shaped, pure white flowers, that look like lily-of-the-valley. They don’t smell like them though, having instead, an aniseed perfume. It is actually an ericaceous shrub, semi-evergreen, that grows to about 5-6ft. but is happy in a pot. And this blue glazed pot, I think, is perfect!

Well, I think that’s it for now. It’s now time to switch our attentions to the beauty of autumn, that lies round the corner.

I went to Ashwood and …..

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….added to my scented shrub collection!

I was seeking out a scented shrub in flower now, as I was aware of a flowering gap in my scented shrub border. I was thinking of possibly a Caryopteris, which blooms at this time, but it prefers a sunny position, and our border is predominantly shady. I was open to options.

The nursery had a wide selection of Caryopteris available, and I succumbed, choosing Caryopteris x Clandonensis “Dark Knight”. This variety has the usual silvery-blue foliage, that is strongly aromatic, and the flowers are a lovely deep blue. The bees just love them! It was even obvious in the nursery – they were all over them!

I know! I said the Scented Shrub border was in shade! I’ve decided, that to increase my repertoire and accommodate more sun lovers, it’s time to extend, and the only other sunny area available is the front garden. So that is going to become “Phase 2”.

There’s still the gap in the display in the border in the back garden to solve. On the way out, there was a display of miniature Daphnes, several of which were either flowering or about to. I saw one – Daphne x Napolitana “Meon”. That would fit the bill! A small, scented shrub, reaching only 10″ x 18″, that had only 3 tiny rose pink flowers on it, but was still pumping out a very tempting scent even on this small scale. An impulse buy, well justified!

And a small pressy for my mum! She has been on the lookout for a prostrate Rosemary, so when I saw one I had to treat her.

And then back to the garden to enjoy the remnants of summer sun. As I sip my wine, I’m watching the bees flocking to the “Dark Knight”. Bliss! 🙂

The Garden is awash with white

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…. Or at least it was! How short-lived! It was only 4 days from idea to photo!

I was revelling in all the white blooms that were out in the garden, and thought it might make a good post. Never mind! I can still show you my blooms but the initial impact has gone.

Let me show you first, two of our inherited shrubs. They are incorporated in our “Scented Shrub” border, even though they don’t meet that criteria, but they are still garden worthy. I just grow scented climbers through them to satisfy my sense of detail.

Amelanchier

Amelanchier

I identified this as an Amelanchier. It is a beautiful shrub that we both love. It has this lovely, white blossom in spring, quickly followed by fresh coppery leaf growth. It’s quiet over the summer but in autumn, it’s an explosion of colour as the leaves turn red. And all in full view of the kitchen window!

Cherry trees

Cherry trees

Our pair of unknown Cherry trees and they do give fruit too – which the birds seem to love! Stunning against a blue sky!

Osmanthus delavayi

Osmanthus delavayi

Now onto my scented shrubs! My Osmanthus is covered in clusters of small, white flowers which pump out a delicious scent over a large area. The rest of the time, it looks good, with small, dark green leaves, forming a rounded, evergreen shrub.

Magnolia stellata

Magnolia stellata

It’s almost the perfect flower! Star-like, as it’s name suggests. I replanted this from a pot last autumn, to hopefully give it better conditions. It’s not done too badly, although still, as in previous years, many of the furry buds don’t bring forth flowers. I must investigate further.

Viburnum carlessii "Aurora"

Viburnum carlessii “Aurora”

I am allowing myself a bit of licence by including white with a hint of pink! The viburnum’s snowball shaped blooms look just as lovely while developing, with clusters of ruby buds. And once they open the scent is just as lovely – possibly clove, similar to pinks.

Daphne tangutica

Daphne tangutica

And in the scent stakes, Daphne takes some beating. This variety, tangutica, is an evergreen shrub about 3-4 ft high, with the typical Daphne flowers. It often repeat flowers throughout the season – an added bonus!

Our Mini Orchard

Our Mini Orchard

Now I want to introduce you to our “Mini Orchard”. It consists of 5 cordon fruit trees, lining one of the “Allotment” paths. We have 2 pears – “Doyenne du Comice” and “Conference” – a “Scrumptious” apple tree – a “Victoria” plum – and a cherry, “Summer Sun”. Last year was its first full year and produced a fair amount of fruit. It, too, is bursting forth with white blossoms, and is looking good for another possible good harvest – fingers x’d!

And, in addition, we have several white-flowered spring flowers doing their bit as well, but I must stop somewhere!

Scented gems

Coronilla glauca "Citrina"

Coronilla glauca “Citrina”

A couple of my scented shrubs have been giving me great pleasure over the last month or so – definitely scented gems!

My Coronilla glauca “Citrina” seems to have been flowering for ages! It started slowly, at the start of the year, and is now smothered in beautiful, lemon, pea-shaped flowers. They emit a lovely, fruity scent, that some people liken to peaches. I can detect fruit, but more vanilla. The whole plant is a thing of beauty, with glaucous blue leaves, that I can only describe as being like Ruta graveolens, the herb Rue, but without the scent. It is reputed to be slightly tender and is recommended to be grown against a wall for protection. Mine is freestanding, in our front garden, which is south facing and so is in full sun, which combined with our sandy, free-draining soil, seems to suit it so far – touch wood! It has quite a lax habit (maybe wall training would be the thing to do!) and so far, has not seemed to need pruning. I’ve just left it to do its own thing! It apparently can also be grown in pots – ideal for winter protection.
I bought my specimen a couple of years ago at the Malvern spring show – possibly my favourite show! It had been picked out on the “Gardener’s World” coverage of the show the previous night, so I just had to find it. And I’m so glad I did!

Daphne laureola

Daphne laureola

Daphne laureola is doing really well now, since I extracated it from the overreaching branches of its neighbouring Lonicera fragrantissima, when that was cut back a year or so ago. By contrast, it seems quite an understated shrub. Similar to my other winter favourite, the Sarcococca, it is a low growing, evergreen shrub with small, insignificant looking flowers. What sets it apart though, like the Sarcoccoca, is its magnificent scent – sweet and vanilla. And the clusters of small flowers, which nestle under the whorls of shiny, green leaves, are such an unusual, lime green colour – a subtle gem!

Abeliophyllum distichum

Abeliophyllum distichum

I must also include my Abeliophyllum distichum, although its flowering was short lived. It is also known as the “White forsythia”. Definitely much more subtle than its namesake, it has a similar habit, but the flowers are so much more delicate – white, flushed with pink – and scented to boot! Like Forsythia, the flowers appear on bare stems, before the leaves appear. It is best, grown supported, against a wall. Mine is growing in a large pot, supported with canes, in a sunny position. And again, minimum maintenance!

And after walking “round the estate”, I can see so many more gems just waiting to burst forth! What an exciting time of year!

The Cuttings Calender – February

Snowdrops in a dinky vase

Snowdrops in a dinky vase

I’m ashamed to say, that the contenders for February are a bit thin on the ground. I did keep it going, but there was a large element of repetition. I could blame a lack of cutting material, but it’s more likely to be my lack of imagination.

My other contenders?

Six of the best

Six of the best

“Six of the best” was interesting – a sort of botanical “exercise”! – but some elements of the composition did not last well. It comprised of a single sprig of six winter-flowering shrubs, in each of my milk bottles. Abeliophyllum distichum, Daphne laureola, Chimonanthus praecox, Coronilla “Citrina” and of course, Sarcococca and Lonicera fragrantissima. The smell was wonderful!

Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox

I loved the single sprig of Chimonanthus! I felt it was “understated chic”(!) – Japanese almost! It was simple and long-lasting, as well as fulfilling the original aim of bringing the scent down to nose height.

But the simple beauty of the snowdrops, was the winner. So lovely, to bring the harbinger of spring indoors and be able to appreciate them at eye level.