Tag Archives: Sambucus nigra

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.


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”.


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!


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.


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,


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.


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”?


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!

Planting the Poppy


Without too much fanfare, the time came for the Remembrance Poppy to be planted. Still in its box since Christmas, much thought had gone into where, in the garden, we should place it. And, uncertain as to how frost-proof it was, we wanted to wait for warmer weather.

Initially, I considered in the herb beds, to be visible from the French doors. Hmm! But then, after an overhaul of part of the Scented Shrub border, a focal point presented itself.

The drastic measures began last year, when the Lonicera fragrantissima, was severely cut back. One or two of the lower branches had layered themselves and created new plants, growing away happily. Unhappily, I had to remove these, leaving only the best placed shrub. I started an experiment. There was a large gap at the back of the border, which I wanted to fill. It may go against best horticultural practice, to plant a shrub in a densely shaded area beneath two cherry trees, when the shrubs all around were already growing towards the light, but I thought I’d take a chance. I chose a dark-leaved elder, Sambucus nigra “Gerda”, my thinking being that elders are often found on the edges of woodland. Apart from its dark leaves, it also has pink umbels of scented flowers. But that would necessitate a path or gap in the planting to be able to appreciate its perfume. We put down two stepping stones to cross the border, but we then had the dilemma of a focus at the end – a path must lead to something! Eh, viola! The Poppy would be perfect! It’s in our direct line of vision, from one of our garden seats.

The overhaul has now moved on.


Two hollies, originally planted at the outset of the border, used to form a bit of a hedge, separating the Scented Shrub border from the Courtyard, with its herb beds. Unfortunately, they hadn’t responded too well to some severe pruning. So we took the plunge and cut them down. This leaves more available planting space. I still wanted the effect of a hedge, so I’ve chosen to replace the holly with a scented alternative. Portuguese Laurel, Prunus lusitanica, is a hedging shrub, with scented flowers, that should grow quite quickly and suit the shady conditions. And there’s possibly yet more planting space available!

But back to the Poppy!


I think it looks quite smart at the end of the path!

It’s just a shame that we were a day late for Anzac Day and their remembrance ceremonies! It would have been quite appropriate. Still, they did choose Rosemary as their flower of Remembrance!