Tag Archives: Elder

Summer Breeze…..

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….blowing through the jasmine in my mind! (I can’t get the song out of my head, at the moment!)

This wonderful week of weather has had us appreciating a summer breeze – as I am at this very moment, enjoying an aperitif as the sun goes down, and the breeze rustles through the trees above. Bliss!
This is when a lot of scented plants come into their own, becoming stronger in the evening. Plant them close to a favourite evening seat, and it’s heaven! If backed by a warm brick wall and enclosed, as we are, even better!

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Many of these are climbers, including our jasmine, Jasminum officinale, which grows over the pergola framing our dining area. No scent can be more heady than jasmine! It just whisks you off to exotic foreign climes!
But it does have a bit of help.

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Against this brick wall, either side of the chiminea, grow two Trachelospermums. This one is Trachelospermum jasminoides, and is just coming into flower now. It is, as its name suggests, very similar scented to jasmine, though not quite so heavy. Its flowers are like tiny white propellers or whirligigs. The plant itself is an evergreen shrub. The Trachelospermum on the other side, is asiaticum, which is very similar, but with creamier flowers. I have found that it is not as floriferous as jasminoides. No flowers there, as yet.
Around the chiminea, we have pots of rosemary, thyme, lavender and scented pelargonium – all very Mediterranean, in keeping with the style of this courtyard area. As well as a new addition of a Myrtle, which I’ve been after for some time.

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All we now need is the finishing touch of perfume, provided by the night scented stocks I’ve sown on the surface of each large, corner pot. Should be soon!

Elsewhere in the garden, I recently added two more scented shrubs to the mix.

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Introducing Itea illicifolia! This evergreen wall shrub has tassels of honey scented blooms, which are now flowering. The books tell me honey, but I detect lemony top notes first, before it deepens to honey tones. I’ve planted this alongside a Garrya elliptica. They are similar in appearance and habit, both producing tassels. Garrya displays it’s long silver tassels at the start of the year, (sadly unscented!) so I’m hoping they will work well together.

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Now we have a dark leaved elder, Sambucus nigra “Gerda”, which has beautiful dark, nearly black, foliage, and pink clusters of elder flowers in spring. I’m told they are lemon scented, but anyway, I love the smell of elderflowers! In fact I’m rather partial to the taste as well!
This has come about as a bit of an experiment, after a critical appraisal from my stepdad. He is a gardener of the old school – perfect lawns (preferably striped), plants in their allocated space standing to attention and everything pruned to within an inch of its life. I have to hide my secateurs! But he did make me re look at one part of my scented border. “Why were these shrubs spreading out at the front, leaving a big gap at the back? You should cut these out/get rid of them!” He had a point, but there was no way I was getting rid. Possibly the correct approach would be to dig them out and replant, but I didn’t have the heart! So hence the experiment. What could I plant at the back, in the gap, that would tolerate the shade and grow above the shrubs in front, and provide scent and interest? Well, elders naturally grow on the edges of woodlands, so I thought it worth a try! I’m keeping a watchful eye on it!

But for now, I’m back to my aperitif! The sound of the summer breeze through the trees, has been joined by the sound of the weekly church bell practice. It must be heaven!
Now, if I sit out a bit longer, I might be lucky enough to add a bat’s aerial display to the experience! That should cover all the senses! 🙂

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