Tag Archives: Lavender

Scent in the Garden – October

I’m afraid, there’s  not been much blooming in the garden this month to provide us with perfume.

There’s the last of the lavender.

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These lavenders, “Hidcote”, were planted earlier in the summer, in the sunny front garden. They’re settling in well and flowering nicely already. I love the dark purple flowers. They should be completed well by the paler Perovskia planted behind. The beauty of these two plants, is that they don’t need to flower to provide perfume. Like the lavender, Perovskia, too, has aromatic leaves.

And, of course, flowers don’t have the monopoly on scent. So many plants have scented, aromatic leaves and they provide the backbone to the scented garden. We all know the Mediterranean herbs well – Rosemary, sage, thyme and so on. Every well stocked garden should have these stalwarts, whether as decorative specimens, (just think of purple sage in a border!) or a as a dedicated herb garden. Brushing against the leaves gives a whiff of sunny climes!

At this time, when flowers are becoming more scarce, leaves are there to plug the gap. Apart from the obvious lavenders and herbs already mentioned, we have several other interesting plants who give us scent through their leaves. The Caryopteris, which has just stopped flowering, still has, for the moment, its aromatic foliage. Choisya ternata, Drymis and  Calycarpa are other shrubs that have scented leaves when rubbed. Did you know that, when crushed, Gaultheria procumbens (I know! It too, has had a name change! I think it’s now Pernettyia!) leaves smell of germolene? And that, when wet, the leaves of Rosa rubiginosa, the sweet briar rose, smells of apples?

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Oh, and there’s Cestrum parqui, but that’s not pleasant!

So all is not lost!

Autumn is all about foliage, mainly due to its myriad of colours.

Isn’t this gorgeous?

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This is Cercidiphyllum japonicum “Red Fox”, which have growing in a pot, under planted with the golden grass, Milium effusum, or Bowle’s golden grass, which complements this plants plum coloured foliage. But at this time of year its red leaves become a gorgeous mix of toffee shades. And that’s not all! The fallen leaves smell of candy Floss!

But, it has reached the time of year, where the scented flowering shrubs are heading towards their winter display.

Our wonderful Coronilla “Citrina” has started flowering again.

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I swear it can only have stopped flowering a couple of months ago!

Mahonia japonica’s racemes of lemon, perfumed flowers are just starting to open, and Viburnum farreri has its tiny “cotton wool” balls of pink, flowering too.

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Yes, summer is definitely gone and it’s all about winter now!

How’s your garden smelling this month? Do tell us!

And thank you to Wellywoman and Backlane Notebook, for starting this.

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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?

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!