Tag Archives: Heliotrope

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!

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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!