This month I am focussing on scent in your garden. Scent to my mind is one of the most important features of any garden and so often forgotten about or overlooked in gardening as a whole.
Scent derives from volatile ‘Essential Oils’ stored in plants which are released as they mix with air and oxidise. Flowers produce essential oil called attar which is found normally in the petals. Scent in flowers is released as the flowers open and fades as the flowers wither, temperature also affects the strength of the scent.
Flowers produce these smells to attract polinators to fertilise their flowers, bees, butterflies, moths, beetles etc, some have smells or scents that are rather unpleasant that mimic rotting flesh or decaying matter to attract flies, and then there are those that have wonderful scents used in fragrances and perfumery.
June is the month when some of the best shrubs come into their own – Roses the nations favourite plant fill gardens with heady scents, as far as I am concerned a Rose must smell to be in any garden!
Philadelphus (Mock Orange) is a very under-rated plant. Try Philadelphus coronarius Aureus, purpurecens, Starbright, or Belle Etoile. Over 80 to collect! Also try Daphnes, choisya, honeysuckles etc. Herbs are a must have and not just for cooking or using in salads. Plant creeping thymes, mint or camomile to tread on planted in gravel or between paving slabs to release their wonderful aromas, and plant lavender or Rosemary to brush against as you walk past.
The crucial thing is to have scented plants whether foliage or flowers, near to where you sit in the garden. Everyone has their own sense of smell and scent is very personal, it evokes so many things in our sub-conscious, relaxes, brings back memories, calms and gives and incredible sense of pleasure.
It is possible to plan and plant scented plants that will flower every month of the year, try -use your nose, have a good sniff and educate your sense of smell, enjoy!!
After the cold winds, gales and rain in parts of the country take a close look around your garden for signs of damage. Cut back broken stems of herbaceous plants, tie in roses, and climbers.
Plant out Runner Beans, Pumpkins, Courgettes, Tomatoes, Climbing French Beans.
Keep sowing salad crops at 3 weekly intervals for a continuous supply.
Nasty weeds are having a field day. Watch out for Japanese Knotweed. The wet and mild winter has meant deep rooted weeds are getting off to a flying start. The growth is extraordinary. Capable of coming up through tarmac… Check out Environet.
Other weeds like Giant Hogweed and Ragwort– which are poisonous, have loved the wet conditions so germination has been really good. Please wear gloves or gauntlets to remove these weeds!
In hot sunny weather use a hoe or a swoe to cut down weeds at soil level, let the sun scorch them up! No chemicals and good exercise!
With hot weather forecast don’t cut your lawn too short.
Enjoy visiting Open and Secret Gardens all over the country, National Garden Scheme gardens, National Trust gardens…… This is a Must. There is nothing better than horticultural espionage! You gain and learn so much. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and buy plants!
I visited Chelsea Flower Show which was fabulous this year. The variety of gardens, designers, landscapers, nurseryman and women, planting, plants and all the stands made for a spectacular show. Very well done all.
I would like to mention one nurseryman who has quietly in the background continued to win 28 Gold Medals. Has bred over 100 new cultivars (varieties) of Clematis. This man is Raymond Evison.
Clematis has been his lifetimes work. Go on line to find your nearest stockist raymondevisonclematis.com or ask at your local garden centre.
He has done so much breeding to make them more compact, give them a longer flowering season, huge range of colours and made them truly versatile for use as a house plant, patio plant or for hanging baskets and of course to climb up fences, trellises, pergolas and walls.
What ever the weather enjoy your gardening, take time out, use your senses, listen to the bird song, stop and observe life around you, relax with a glass of your favourite tipple, draw breath and inhale the scents of yours or somebody else’s garden!
Please leave your gardening questions for me to answer this weekend. I was kept very busy last Monday at RHS Wisley answering gardening questions on the Gardening Advice desk!
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