18th June 2019

Garden Notes

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I have just been to Sissinghurst where the smell in the rose garden was amazing. We tend to put the looks and colour of our plants first, but smell adds another dimension. The calming smell of lavender, the sweet smell of syringa, reminding you of orange blossom and weddings and the smell of new mown grass. All these add so much to the enjoyment of your garden.

There is no reason why you should not have fragrance all through the year. True you will sometimes have to bend low to smell it, but anyone who has bent to smell a primrose will know it is worth it.

In winter the shrubby sarcoccoca, wintersweet and witch hazel will waft their smell on the air while the early snowdrops and crocus need a bended knee. The scented narcissus and jonquils can be picked for the house. In spring you are really into perfume. The cherries with their almond smell and the apple blossom. These are followed by the mountain ash flowers, strong and not to everyone’s taste though. In the border you have the hesperis or Dame’s Violet with an incredible perfume and the lily of the valley. These hang on till the first of the roses and the lavender and pinks and from then on it is easy. I just wish dahlias smelt.

The Autumn brings its own smells. If you come across a walnut tree crush the leaves and be amazed at the scent. The buddleias will have finished but viburnum x bodnantense will have started and late sown nicotianas will last till the frosts.

For those at work all day a night scented garden is a must. Honeysuckle is at its best in the evening, and how about that almost forgotten annual the night scented stock which is really easy to grow.

The lilies like Casa Blanca and the Angels trumpets (brugmansia) have an incredible exotic perfume. Perfect to grow in pots on a small patio and store inside in winter.

It might amuse you to grow a border of edible smells. The shrub cytisus battandieri or pineapple broom could sit at the back with a double gorse smelling of coconuts. In front the vanilla scented meadow sweet could be surrounded with lemon balm, ginger mint, orange thyme, chocolate cosmos and the aniseed foliage of agastache. I am sure you could find other scents to add to it once you started. Just have fun.

Stella Strachan

[Please note that this message is not posted on behalf of Bentworth Parish Council and does not necessarily reflect the Parish Council’s policy]

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