Tag Archives: Elaeagnus

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!

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!

May the scent be with you!

Wisteria floribunda "alba"

Wisteria floribunda “alba”

Welcome to my Wisteria!
We have had this since we first built the pergola, well over 10 years ago. It grows in one of 4 huge pots, positioned at each corner, as the pergola was built on an existing concrete slab, which was previously the site of an old shed, that was there when we first moved in. It was right outside the kitchen window, would you believe, so it had to go! It left a perfect spot for a seating area under a pergola, but lack of soil here, meant all the plants would be container grown. The wisteria has plodded on, not making as much growth as I would have expected, considering the feeding it gets, being pot grown. After a few years, it started flowering, but never very well. All the promising buds seemed to shrivel up and fall off. But this year – wow! It’s never flowered as well as this. I had to measure the racemes – they were over 16 inches/40cm long! And I’ve been able to appreciate its famous scent for the first time. I can only assume it’s been the wet spring. I’ll definitely be keeping it better watered in future!

For my other selections, I’m going to take you to the front garden.

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It’s only a narrow strip, alongside the necessary parking area. It already had a huge yucca when we came, and there was no way we were going to remove that! It is south facing, and so is warm and sunny, which, along with our sandy soil, makes it perfect for sun-lovers, hence it is our Mediterranean garden. Our back garden is more shady, and so these plants do better out here, some of them having already made the move.

Elaeagnus angustifolia "Quicksilver"

Elaeagnus angustifolia “Quicksilver”

I love this! It has really flourished since its move from the back garden, where it struggled. The silver leaves really sing out at you. One of its alternative names is “Russian olive”, and you can see why! You can just make out its tiny, yellow flowers, snuggled under the leaves. But, boy, do you notice the scent! It hits you as soon as you get out of the car! Very sweet and heavy. It smells different to the other Elaeagnus I bought recently, which with its creamy white flowers, is much lighter and fresher – at least to my nostrils!

Prostanthera cuneata

Prostanthera cuneata

Now, this little gem is different, in that it’s not the flowers, pretty white blooms with a lilac tinge, that are scented, it’s the leaves. It’s an evergreen, ground cover plant, only reaching a max of 1m., with whorls of dark green, densely packed small leaves. When rubbed, they emit a strong aromatic fragrance, somewhat herb-like. It’s other name, the “Australian mint bush”, is somewhat misleading. It’s definitely not mint it smells of!

And, of course, you can see, our French lavender! It needs no introduction. What self-respecting Mediterranean garden would be without lavender! I wouldn’t be without lavender. It’s scent is so pungent, but so relaxing. I have several areas of lavender throughout the whole garden – in cottage borders, in herb beds and in pots. It’s mainly self-propagated, English lavender in the back. The more tender French variety, prefers this more sheltered area.

And the Coronilla, which featured in my very first posts, is still flowering its socks off and smelling beautiful. What a plant!

My shopping trip and impulse buy

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For some time now, I have been desperate to visit Stone House Cottage, a garden and nursery not far from us. A free, bank holiday weekend and the time was right!

I had compiled a shopping list, and was keen to shop! But they have wonderful gardens there too. So interesting – full of follies, and rare and unusual plants, in particular, many scented shrubs and climbers. A Plantlover’s paradise! You can imagine I would be in my element!

This was not to be my first visit. I had been a few times before – a couple of times in early spring, and once in high summer. I was hoping to see it again at a different time of year. Alas, this was not to be! Time constraints meant we couldn’t spend long there, and I had to console myself with the shopping list.

I was desperate to replace an Azara microphylla I had lost in a cold spell, a couple of years ago. It’s an evergreen shrub, often grown as a wall shrub, with small, shiny, dark green leaves. The insignificant looking yellow flowers appear in February/March, and though tiny, they emit a huge vanilla perfume, making the whole area smell like a bake-off – all cake and custard! I couldn’t be without it. Shopping list, tick 1!

Next on the list, after reading an earlier post by a fellow blogger,(thank you Chloris!) I was keen to find Ypsilandra thibetica and had tracked it down to here. Luckily they had that in stock as well. Shopping list, tick 2!

Then came the impulse buy! While wandering around, I was stopped in my tracks by the most amazing perfume. I found where it was coming from – an Elaeagnus umbellata. This plant was a new one to me. Even Mr. Chef was drawn to it and he admits himself that he has a weak sense of smell. So it was easy to persuade him to bring it home with us as well!
This is the shrub sat on the seat in the picture. It is a sprawling shrub with silvery green leaves, and tiny cream flowers – the guilty party! Apparently, it can grow quite large (oops!), though it can be pruned back easily, and I had no place earmarked for it when I bought it. I’d worry about that later! A definite impulse!

I had enough time to spot a few more plants on my wish list, so hopefully there will be another visit soon, with more time to spare next time. I want to revisit the garden, complete with camera!

If you can’t wait for my photos, you can have a peek at their website. You will be jealous!
http://www.shcn.co.uk