Gardening Magazine

Summer Scents

By Notcuttsuk @notcuttsuk

Summer scents are everywhere in the garden now. From the pungent smell of the Curry Plant near ourSummer Scents front door to the sweet smell of Honeysuckle so seductive at night, the garden is full of them.

Just beginning to flower at last are the Mock Orange Blossoms, their creamy white flowers gradually emerging to cover fresh green leaves. I am always straight out in the garden as these start to bloom – one flower is enough to give off a powerful, sweet scent that I really look forward to each year.

The Mock Orange does not flower for long but there are plenty of other scents to enjoy and Roses have to be one of the most memorable. From the light ‘tea’ scent of some of the modern varieties to the powerful, fruity scents of old shrub roses, I never tire of burying my nose in their sumptuous blooms and marvelling at the differences.

Dianthus (Pinks) are good tempered plants for a sunny spot and poor, limy soil. Like roses, the scent varies depending on the variety, from hardly any to a rich clove-like perfume. Even the smallest of these versatile plants, suitable for the front of a sunny border or rock garden, can have a powerful smell – the magenta-pink blooms of ‘Warden Hybrid’ are one of my favourites! Along with ‘Fusilier’, ‘Annette’ and ‘Watfield Can Can’ they make low mounds of stiff gray leaves that are studded with flowers at midsummer – delight for my nose and passing bees!

Of course, flowers are not the only scent in a garden and at this time of the year, there is plenty of foliage to stroke releasing powerful aromas. Lavenders, especially the tufted-flowered French varieties are my favourites – the scent of their needle-like gray leaves never fails to please. The flowers of both the French and English varieties are a magnet to bees as are many herbs. Thyme and Marjoram are also favourites with bees and butterflies and again have beautifully scented leaves – ideal to plant near a path at the front of a sunny border where they can spread and tolerate being trodden on!

The tall stems and bright green, feathery leaves of Fennel make it worth growing in a border as an ornamental plant as well as for its aniseed flavor in the kitchen. The bronze form with its foamy brown foliage is especially beautiful to mingle with herbaceous plants in a sunny spot that is not too dry. Here it will send down a long tap root and come up each year with little bother – the leaves glow when covered in water from a recent shower.

A quick trip to the vegetable patch and there is more scent to enjoy from the black and white blooms of Broad Beans busily being worked on by bumble bees and the deep purple globes that are Chive flowers. Chives are members of the Allium (Onion) family and are another great plant to attract bees. The taller Allium christophii have been in flower for weeks in our well drained sunny front garden. Each individual flower opens to a mauve star on a slender stalk and there must be hundreds on each strong stem, slowly creating a perfect sphere and attracting bees by the dozen. I am so glad that I planted these bulbs last autumn and hope that they will multiply in the free draining soil and be around for many years to come.


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