It didn’t take long before we realised that the bench needed a mate! To make best use of it, we had to have somewhere to balance our refreshments, while lapping up our surroundings. It took some searching. Hard to find a table for sale on its own, never mind one in that style and colour, and at a reasonable price. We discovered where we could get one made to order, but way out of our price range. We finally tracked down the best compromise – a table of a very similar pattern, only in cream. However, with our cream cushions on the bench, we think it works. So cheers!
The work done on removing the ash tree, necessitated moving all our pots out of the danger zone. So rather than put them back where they had been, I thought “High time for a different look!”. Yet another reshuffle! Mind you, part of the “rethink” was to find homes for our many impulse buys, and many of them were earmarked for containers, while their predecessors found new homes in the borders.
Then came the flash of inspiration! While pottering about, I noticed that the new foliage of the Zenobia – already in a blue glazed container – really picked up the colour of the bench.
And then, that the glaucous colouring of the Fothergilla “Blue Haze” was pretty close too! Maybe not quite yet, but the blue colour gets stronger as the season progresses. Should make a nice arrangement! And to finish it off, what better than the blue grass, Festuca glauca.
So, moving on, the pots on the “Link”, were replanted, and rearranged, this time hoping for a more streamlined appearance.
Hmmm! Maybe too “linear”?
Just a slight tweek! Is that better?
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.
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.
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.
Other aromatic herbs are adding to their appeal by starting to give us flowers, as well.
Our Honeysuckle “Belgica” is still going great guns, and has been joined with a few pals ….
My potted pinks are giving me particular pleasure on the patio.
I do have a few other more unusual gems, though.
More on those another time!
Now, I must show you an idea I “borrowed” from the local pub!
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.
How’s your garden smelling?
We’ve now had our first frost, so that’s it! I know summer has been hanging on for as long she could, but we can’t deny any longer that autumn is well and truly here and heading towards winter. Please don’t think of me as a merchant of doom! On the contrary, autumn and winter are just as beautiful, with magnificent fiery leaf displays and frosted skeletons. So much to enjoy! But I do miss being able to spend as much time outdoors.
This realisation was re-enforced on my recent walk around the “Estate”, while idling along the scented shrub border. After the flowers of summer and leaves of autumn, this border starts to take on greater importance again. Some of our winter flowering shrubs, are already starting to flower, although one of our summer shrubs is still bravely soldiering on.
I was amazed to notice quite of a few of its lily-of-the valley flowers still nestling among its glaucous leaves. Its aniseed scent was, sadly, not so obvious.
But the main shrub border is definitely showing a wintery trend.
Viburnum is a stalwart of the winter garden, especially where scent is an issue. V. farreri is a large, sprawling, deciduous shrub, lovely at this time of year, when it starts flowering, coinciding with the last of the reddish tinted leaves. The clusters of tiny, white flowers, like miniature “cottonwool balls”, sporadically appear over the shrub throughout winter. This one started in October. The flowers, although small, emit a sweet scent reminiscent of baby powder!
In the flowering hedge, in the front garden, we have another example, the well known Viburnum x bodnantense “Dawn”. It’s a very similar shrub, the flowers being more pink. Here, the blooms are somewhat lost in the mass of dense foliage, but the powdery scent definitely is not!
Back in the Scented Shrub border, Skimmia japonica “Rubella” is revving into gear, providing colour with its ruby-red flower buds. It’s not, as yet, treating us to any of its sweet perfume – that, it’s saving up for spring. This small, evergreen shrub, another winter favourite, courtesy of its flower buds, needs little introduction. I’d go so far as to say it’s the buds rather than the scented flowers, that makes this such a favourite for winter, being widely used as a component in winter pots.
Moving on, and this is where we almost come full circle.
The Mahonia japonica’s sprays of flowers, are just starting to open. And it’s beautiful, tiny daffodil blooms, perfumed like lily-of-the-valley, was the first subject I wrote about, way back at the start of the year!
And keeping it company….
….our Coronilla has started flowering again, having only stopped blooming in early summer. How’s that for longevity!
But despite the promises of winter scent, let’s carry on enjoying autumn, with the burnt orange tones of Cotinus, glowing in the sun, at the start of the post, to another “Stolen Pleasure” of pink forsythia leaves in combination with flowering ivy, at the end.
I’m sure we’ve all been lapping up this late summer weather. I certainly have! I’ve been “busy” walking round the “Estate”, appreciating and taking stock. There’s not too much of great urgency to do – just “pottering” – so it’s a good time of year, at the end of the summer, when things are settling down for the winter nap, to review the good and bad points, and take notes for next year.
The “Grass garden” this year, has had an explosion of growth and colour, but I fear that the grasses may be getting a bit crowded out, in the process. So that has been earmarked for a bit of readjustment next spring. I don’t want to tackle that now. I want to be able to appreciate the grasses and seed heads, in all their winter beauty.
The day’s task, however, were my two Fothergillas, that had recently been moved. They seem to be struggling. Fothergilla major is obviously in a far too dry and shady position, while its smaller, blue-leaved cousin is positively sulking. So out went the Viburnum opulus, with such a viburnum beetle problem, that its leaves were like cobwebs by summertime. No flowers, means no fruit and, as for autumn colour? Well, you need leaves for that! The Fothergilla was more deserving of its more open position. So we shall see how it fares, with a bit more sun and water. No more droopy leaves!
The truculent Fothergilla major “Blue Mist” is a much smaller specimen, growing only to 2-3 ft high, with beautiful glaucous leaves. They both have lovely scented bottle brush flowers in springtime. The solution? I have another lovely scented shrub growing in a pot, Clethra alnifolia “Hummingbird”. My thinking is that, as it grows taller than the Fothergilla, it may be better suited to its inclusion in the Scented shrub border, where it would fill a gap in the flowering calendar. The Fothergilla could then be rehoused in the, now vacant, blue glazed pot, which would set of this plant’s lovely blue foliage beautifully. It would also allow it to be grown in the ericaceous compost it prefers. So it would have to snap out of its sulk, now that it’s been pandered to!
Looks better already!
I also planted up one of my latest acquisitions – Daphne x Napolitana “Meon”, a dwarf variety for a small gap in the scented shrub border, again with the plan of flowering at this “in-between” period between summer and autumn’s fragrant flowers. At a final height of only 18 inches, with tiny rose-pink flowers, it may be small in stature, but not in perfume. The other purchase, the Caryopteris, with its lovely aromatic glaucous leaves, and dark indigo blue flowers, is destined for the front garden, as it will need more sun, but as yet, it’s final position is undecided. That will need to wait for a bit longer.
That was the some total of the day’s “tweaking”. The rest of the day was spent appreciating, so let me share with you!
If you took notice of the archway, (at the start of the post) you can see it’s smothered in two different climbers – Clematis flammula and Lonicera belgica. I’ve been watching patiently for the clematis to start flowering, hoping it would coincide with the honeysuckle’s second flush. And it has come off! Just!
This is a very vigorous group 3 clematis, which means it flowers on new wood, so is easy to prune, by cutting hard back to about a foot from the ground, and it will make all this growth, in one season. It’s smothered in tiny white, starry flowers at this time, that smell of hawthorn. In fact, the arch, for a split second, can become a time tunnel, transporting you back in time to early summer!
This has to be one of the best summer scents in the garden! Lonicera belgica may be “commonplace” in our gardens, but its gorgeous scent, and unusual flowers with their lovely colouring, makes it seem exotic in my eyes. Sadly for us, its main flush of flowering early in the summer, amounts to nothing. The buds can cover the climber, but as they open they wither and die off. I believe it to be an infestation problem rather than cultural, as it’s second flush at this time is magnificent! I haven’t yet identified the culprit, but it’s found every one of the four plants we have in various places in the garden. Never mind, we can enjoy it now!
The recently transplanted Clethra is a lovely shrub, not often seen, I believe. This variety is a more compact variety than the species, growing to 3-4 ft. and it has the advantage of coping well with our shady conditions. More importantly, it flowers at a time when few other scented shrubs are in flower. It’s also known as the “Sweet pepper bush” and has sweetly scented bottle brush flowers, during August. It has gone over now, but its autumn golden yellow colouring is just starting.
I must say, that what our scented shrubs lack flower wise, at this time of year, is made up for with some magnificent autumn colouring.
If the Clethra was unknown to you, what about this?
What a mouthful that is! This is a beautiful shrub, with pure white new stems and glaucous, oval leaves. If you look closely, you should make out the small bell-shaped, pure white flowers, that look like lily-of-the-valley. They don’t smell like them though, having instead, an aniseed perfume. It is actually an ericaceous shrub, semi-evergreen, that grows to about 5-6ft. but is happy in a pot. And this blue glazed pot, I think, is perfect!
Well, I think that’s it for now. It’s now time to switch our attentions to the beauty of autumn, that lies round the corner.
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