Tag Archives: Jasmine

Scent in the Garden – July

Clockwise from top left -  Sweet pea; Buddleia; Jasminum officinalis; Jasminum beesianum

Clockwise from top left –
Sweet pea; Buddleia; Jasminum officinalis; Jasminum beesianum

The baton that June laid down, has been most definitely picked up by July, and is now off and running.

The July scented garden has all the usual suspects – roses, honeysuckles, sweet peas, lavender, pinks and Jasmine. The camera has gone into overtime and the volume of photos now, necessitates the use of montages, to display them all!

Some of our roses, missed the bus in June, and have now caught the next one.

Clockwise from top left -  Rosa eglanteria; Rosa gallica officinalis; Rose "Silver Anniversary"; Rosa "Albertine"

Clockwise from top left –
Rosa eglanteria; Rosa gallica officinalis; Rose “Silver Anniversary”; Rosa “Albertine”

But I still maintain, that Philadelphus most definitely give roses a run for their money when it comes to perfume. We have two – the giant, clumsy mock orange, rescued from a supermarket shelf, claiming to be “Virginal”, and the smaller, more delicate, “Sybille”. Of the two, “Sybille” has the better perfume, and its bubblegum scent carries all around the garden.

Top- Philadelphus "Sybille" Bottom - Philadelphus "Virginal"

Top- Philadelphus “Sybille”
Bottom – Philadelphus “Virginal”

For scent in the garden, nothing can beat lavender. It shouts the Mediterranean – even though L. angustifolia is English lavender! I love it! I grow it wherever I can, in pots, as well as in the borders. In common with other aromatic herbs, it gives us perfume all year round from its leaves – the flowers are a bonus! This lavender, “Hidcote” with its dark purple flowers, looks particularly good alongside the yellow froth of Alchemilla Mollis.

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Other aromatic herbs are adding to their appeal by starting to give us flowers, as well.

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Our Honeysuckle “Belgica” is still going great guns, and has been joined with a few pals ….

Top- Lonicera "Belgica" Bottom L. - Lonicera delavayii ; R. - Honeysuckle from next door

Top- Lonicera “Belgica”
Bottom L. – Lonicera delavayii ; R. – Honeysuckle from next door

My potted pinks are giving me particular pleasure on the patio.

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I do have a few other more unusual gems, though.

Top - Zenobia pulverulenta "Blue Skies" Bottom L. - Escallonia Iveyi; R. - Calycanthus floridus

Top – Zenobia pulverulenta “Blue Skies”
Bottom L. – Escallonia Iveyi; R. – Calycanthus floridus

More on those another time!

Now, I must show you an idea I “borrowed” from the local pub!

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They had pots of herbs and flowers in a small trough on a table in the garden. It got me thinking of a line of troughs along our outdoor dining table containing scented flowers, and herbs for picking and adding to food. What do you think? Add some jars for tea lights, a pot of “touchy-feely” chamomile and our recently acquired Kaffir lime, and that’s a lovely table centre piece.

July’s scent, though, has not been restricted to the garden.
Some of it found its way indoors.

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How’s your garden smelling?

The Cuttings Calender – October

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The star of the month!

Yes, you have seen this before. This was the vase I prepared before going off on our hols, in “Sun, Sea and Sand“. I was looking for a vase that would still be going strong – or, at least, strongish! – when we came home. And it did what I had hoped! Choosing berries, seed heads and grasses, that would die gracefully, rather than collapse, certainly worked. I do confess that part of me wanted a repeat of the red berry vase I did in September. I did love that, but the simple white roses with hydrangea, pipped it at the post.

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This, my little experiment, you’ve also seen. This little vase was a sample of a cyclamen and viola flower, from my trip to the nursery, to see how they would perform in a vase. The viola flopped – literally! – but the cyclamen lasted well. Sadly the stems are a bit on the short side for its use as anything other than “posies” for example.

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Now this was me trying to be clever! I’d salvaged these three jars, which had once contained some chilli relishes – a Christmas present to “Mr. Chef”. They have such a lovely chunky shape. They stack as well! I had long envisaged them, with flowers, being used together as a table display. The Grass Garden was producing a prolific patch of Aster frikartii “Monch”, which would give me plenty of lilac flowers for cutting, so these jars seemed the ideal receptacle. The table, at this time, is out of action, so I had to make do with a window ledge. I used the golden foliage from a Euonymus as a contrast to the lilac, in the two outer jars, and the silvery grass, Miscanthus “Morning Light”, in the central jar, giving a bit of height and softness. It would look better on our new table, though!

image The surprise, late flowering Jasmine, was a must for a vase!

I feel October was not my most productive month, vase wise. But who’d be without a holiday in the sun! Despite so few vases to show, my stream of displays is still continuous. Perhaps the longevity of the “holiday” vase is to blame! Next month, I hope will be more productive. Let’s wait and see!

Sun, Sea and Sand

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We have spent the last week enjoying a well earned holiday, lapping up some late summer sun in the south of Spain. Beautiful as you can see! The cobbled streets here, take on a whole new dimension.

Despite all this warm sunshine and relaxation, the “little green cells” were still working. Having been here before and taken albums full of the obligatory holiday snaps, I was still snap happy, on the look out for a horticultural gem, or an unusual slant. Most of these photos have yet to be downloaded (or should it be uploaded? I never know!) Some have led me to have fun with some puzzles!

SPOT THE BALL

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This was intended to be a “Wordless Wednesday”, while away, but a wonderful day spent far away from Wi-fi connections in the fascinating city of CĂłrdoba, meant it was not to be be. This old city of narrow streets, keeps its horticulture a closely guarded secret, in beautiful courtyards, hidden from view. We did get a sneaky peak – citrus trees, fountains and walls covered in pots trailing with brightly coloured flowers. Apparently, once year in early summer, these courtyards are thrown open to the public. Make a date in your diary!

Have you spotted the ball? (Or is it a fallen orange?)

DID YOU KNOW….

….what La Biznaga is?

Well, for one, it is the tapas bar we were frequenting while there.

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As we perused the menu on so many occasions, it became obvious that the bar’s logo resembled a flower or seed head, so it led me to wonder what La Biznaga meant. Ah, the wonders of Google!

Biznaga

Biznaga

This is one. It is, in essence, a scented posy of Jasmine, which is a speciality of the Malaga region. The name comes from the Moorish, meaning “Gift from God”.
The starting point is what they term as a wild thistle, but was named as being Ammi visnaga, familiar to us as Bishops Weed, or Khella. They collect these early in summer, leave them to dry and then strip off the flowers, leaving only the skeleton. Later, jasmine flowers are picked early in the morning, before they open, and stuck on to each prong, giving a head of scented jasmine flowers. Each of these “posies” are stuck into the body of a cactus, which has been stripped of its prickles, to be carried through the streets by the sellers, or biznagueros.

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Sounds like a painstaking process! But what a perfume they must emit!
They feature strongly in Malaga’s culture, depicted in art and poetry, and they comprise an integral part of the city’s annual festival in August.

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE

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Home now, and time to assess the vase I did just before we left.
I was determined that a week away, would not be an excuse to forego a vase of flowers. I put a lot of thought into what I could use that would either last the week or die gracefully. My thinking was that the evergreen Mahonia leaves as a background, with their splashes of red, should last well, as would the Skimmia buds and Sedum flowers. The rosehips should dry out, the Persicaria create seed heads and the grass flowers fade beautifully.

One week on and what’s the verdict? I think it’s worked exactly as I’d hoped!

AND ONE I PREPARED EARLIER….

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…. the viola was the only casualty!

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! 🙂