Walk around the garden at this time of year and you’re assailed from all sides by scented plants. Most have fragrant flowers, some have fragrant leaves that are planted to spill over the paths and release a cloud of aroma as you brush past them. Most give off an intoxicating sweet heady fragrance, as subtle as a freight train. Some do this during the heat of the day, some in the evening as it cools.
The scent of summer is here, in the perfume of the jasmine enveloping you while you sit on the patio. In the waves of sweet honeysuckle wafting in through open windows, in the drifting clouds of heady fragrance from the Mock Orange (Philadelphus) shrubs planted about. It’s a lovely time to be in the garden, just follow your nose.
While now is peak-scent, there are plants that can be sniffed at most other times of the year too, especially during the winter, when the Sarcococca flowers, along with the winter honeysuckle, Mahonia, Wintersweet and others. Daffodils in spring are fragrant, as are the Azaleas in the Willow Border, they can be sniffed after the scented Magnolia has finished. Later in the year, you can apply your nose to various Buddleijas, each smelling of a different type of honey.
I haven’t even mentioned the roses, pretty much all of which are scented. I don’t have a sophisticated vocabulary when it comes to describing scents, but the roses do smell very differently from each other, one is distinctly medicinal, another smells of hand cream while another smells of citrus. I can walk about the garden bobbing my head down to smell the flowers and I should encourage visitors on Open Days to do the same. It adds another dimension of interest to the garden beyond “just” flowers and foliage. While scent might not have been such a focus in previous years, I now couldn’t imagine the garden without it.
After all, what is a romantic garden without it’s perfume?