Tag Archives: Iris

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!

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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?

A Chocolate Pot

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It’s a wet Sunday afternoon. Nothing much can be done outside – at least with any comfort. So I’m amusing myself, playing around with some of my photos and practicing a new collage app.

Rachel de Thame, on the t.v. coverage of Chelsea Flower Show, did a series of articles, on themed plant collections, one of which was chocolate. For a bit of fun, I thought I’d create my own “Chocolate Pot”, using plants in our garden.

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Let’s start with a climber, to cover the back fence or wall. Akebia quinata, or “Chocolate vine”, is a beautiful climber, with chocolate coloured flowers, that smell of vanilla, in spring.

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Next, we need a backdrop to the border, so we have Cotinus “Grace”, with its beautiful oval, chocolate coloured leaves.

Now for the highlights of the border – the flowers.

Digitalis parviflora

Digitalis parviflora

The “Chocolate foxglove” gives us fantastic spires of chocolate coloured flowers.

Iris "Dutch Chocolate"

Iris “Dutch Chocolate”

Irises always give us stunning flowers, as well as interesting foliage the rest of the time. “Dutch Chocolate” is no exception.

Helenium "Moorheim Beauty"

Helenium “Moorheim Beauty”

We now need a flower to brighten up these chocolate tones, so I’ve introduced a “chocolate orange” element in the form of this orange daisy with chocolate centres. This daisy is a good filler providing a contrast in flower shape.

And now, to finish it all off, we need an edging.

Heuchera "Chocolate Ruffles"

Heuchera “Chocolate Ruffles”

What could be better than Heuchera “Chocolate Ruffles”! A great edging plant with evergreen, chocolate brown leaves (somewhat paler at this time of year, in this photo).

Uncinia rubra

Uncinia rubra

And, to provide a contrast in texture, we could do with a chocolate coloured grass, so this sedge fits the bill!

What a yummy collection for all us chocolate lovers!

As I said, this was a bit of fun, but I think it would work in practice. It would need a sunny site with free draining soil, although the sedge grass may need extra watering. Although shade lovers normally, Heucheras and this foxglove both like sunny conditions as well. The flaw, if it is one, is that the flowers don’t bloom at the same time, but the foliage should pull it all together.

Hope you like my Chocolate Pot! If you have any other suggestions for a theme, please let me know, and I’ll see what I can concoct!

“June is busting out all over”

All the buds are now well and truly bursting!

The Cottage Border

The Cottage Border

The Cottage Border is showing its first wave of flowers. The irises, pink poppies and aquilegias have been flowering now for a while, and geraniums, and the first of the roses, are starting to join in.

Angelica archangelica

Angelica archangelica

The Angelica buds I showed you last month, have exploded now. I’ve counted 14 flower heads! Quite dramatic. If only it was perennial!

Iris "Jane Phillips"

Iris “Jane Phillips”

I also showed you last month, buds of, what I thought, was “Jane Phillips”. THIS is she – those buds were an imposter! I’ve been told that they were the buds of “Immorality”, (although I’m not 100% convinced!)

Alliums

Alliums

The allium bulbs are blooming now. I think they’re Allium aflatunense. They have been there, under performing, for several years, and now that I have revamped this bit of border, they have decided to remind me they are still there. The border was redone as a “Champagne border”, trying to reproduce Luciano’s Laurent Perrier garden. Thankfully, they fit in with the scheme – they’re the bubbles!

Astrantia "Buckland" with Nectaroscordum

Astrantia “Buckland” with Nectaroscordum

The Nectaroscordum, now that they are flowering, has thrown up an unexpected plant combination, with Astrantia “Buckland”. The colours mirror each of them, creamy white tinged with pink and green. A pleasant surprise!

Papaver orientalis "Patty's Plum"

Papaver orientalis “Patty’s Plum”

Papaver orientalis  "Patty's Plum"

Papaver orientalis “Patty’s Plum”

This is definitely my favourite flower – at least today! Sadly, these 2 pictures were taken only 1 day apart. Maybe that’s why it’s my favourite – because it’s so fleeting, and longed for. Thankfully, I have more buds. Isn’t the colour so dramatic?

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And the first of my roses have started to bloom. Think of this as a taster. I hope to do a future post on my roses. The pale pink one is our rambler, rosa “Albertine” and the deep pink one is the beautiful English rose, “Gertrude Jekyll”, nestled among more emerging buds, of Hydrangea “Annabelle”.

Papaver orientalis ( unknown)

Papaver orientalis ( unknown)

Iris "Cable Car"

Iris “Cable Car”

And two more recently burst buds. They certainly demand to be noticed! P.s the iris smells like it looks – chocolate/orange! Mmm!

Thalictrum "Elin"

Thalictrum “Elin”


And what do you make of this? This is the flower spike of Thalictrum “Elin”. I checked – it’s supposed to reach 6 ft. This is more like 10 ft. Honest, I’ve not been feeding it steroids!

And on that lofty note, I’ll say bye for now! I’m off to see what else is blooming lovely!

A Fruitful Weekend…..

….and a couple of mysteries!

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First, my new “toy”!
We decided to invest in a mini raised bed for our strawberries. We never have enough for our liking! The strawberry patch had become very overgrown and weed infested. It was a mix of runners from 3 different species, and we wanted to start afresh, as you should after a few years. Last year, we bought 3 new plants of “Cambridge Favourite”, which we decided we liked the taste of best. We planted each of them in a large terracotta pot, with the intention of replacing the “mass” of self-rooted plants, with runners of pure “Cambridge Favourite”. We didn’t want to replant them in the weedy ground, and so thought a mini raised bed would solve the problem, by raising them off the ground in fresh, new soil.

The bed consists of 4 black plastic boards, connected with pegs, giving a bed of 51x97x25cm. You can buy an additional fitted liner, necessary if you are using the bed on a hard surface. Easy! You see the bed in process of being filled with compost. Boy, did it need a lot! But we do love strawberries!

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And now the finished bed!
It was hard, to dig up and throw away the old strawberry plants, no matter how much it was the right thing to do! I still saw disappearing strawberries! However, the 3 original plants are still in their pots, and hopefully, next year, we can expand the bed and have more strawberries, from the runners. And so on! Should be self perpetuating. That’s the plan!

Some of the gorgeous buds are now bursting forth.

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A beautiful pink unknown Oriental poppy.

Nectaroscordum

Nectaroscordum


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And now to our first mystery! Although, by the time I’m typing this, the solution is starting to come to me! I thought this patch was of “Deep Black”, but when I saw the blue buds, I thought they were instead “Jane Phillips”. I must have muddled up my labels. The mystery was, that when they opened, they seemed paler than last year. How could that be? However, by now, the adjacent irises are now starting to open, and I am now recognising the familiar blue of last year. The solution is becoming clear! My “Deep Black”, which incidentally hadn’t flowered yet, was not, in fact, “Deep Black”! I must have been sold a mislabelled plant. It’s pretty (with a lovely scent!), but it’s not “Deep Black”!

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And what do you make of this aquilegia? How can two different colours and forms of flowers come from the same plant? Or so it seems! I can only assume that I must have planted two different seedlings together. An interesting effect!

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And the foliage goes on! Several of you admired the foliage pots I showed previously, so I thought I’d show you the complete collection!

That was a most enjoyable and satisfying weekend!

And this week is Chelsea! Another highlight! I love May!
So I’m off to the telly!

Fit to burst!

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I love May! I love May for all its lushness and freshness, for all its promise. So much foliage and so many buds just waiting to burst open. So much anticipation for what’s about to happen. It’s all there, waiting to explode into a wonderful floral display. Or that’s what we all hope and pray for. After all, we’ve worked hard enough for it! The spring overture is fading now, (and hasn’t it been wonderful!) and it’s time for the main number. There have been some flowers, but only a few to start with. Let’s say, they’re the intro!

It’s the carpet of forget-me-not that provides the floral link between spring and summer, in our “Cottage Border”. Let me show you some of its amazing buds.

Buds of Oriental poppies with Nectaroscordum

Buds of Oriental poppies with Nectaroscordum

Iris "Jane Phillips" in bud

Iris “Jane Phillips” in bud

In the Black and White Beds, it is the foliage that holds sway just now.

The Black Bed

The Black Bed

From this angle, and without its flowers, this bed doesn’t live up to its title, but I can assure you, its time will come.

Foliage pots

Foliage pots

The Black Bed backs onto the patio with its array of blue pots, this collection being for foliage effects.

The White Bed

The White Bed

And for contrast, the adjacent white bed looks so fresh now and is the first of the two to start flowering, with The Solomon’s Seal looking so cool!

Angelica archangelica

Angelica archangelica

This may be the piece de resistance! Angelica about to flower, in the Herb Garden. Shame that’s the last we’ll see of it, though. Let’s hope for lots of babies to take its place!

All this, AND two Bank Holidays!! 🙂