Smells Like Summer Flowers


Flowers: Delosperma nubigenum

What’s a garden without its perfume? John Stoa explains why there’s always room for fragrant blooms, which flowers to pick, plus tips on how to best maintain a particularly floral garden.

Add Structure

Trees, large shrubs and climbers planted along fences and on walls are all usually permanent and make a big impact on the landscape, so choose the types very carefully.
Many cherry trees such as Prunus Amanogawa are scented, as are most lilacs. Coming down in size, philadelphus may still grow very tall, but the scent is overpowering.
Viburnum carlesii, juddii and carlcephalum all have a strong exotic perfume in early summer, and in winter the witch hazel Hamamelis mollis and Mahonia Charity are at their best.
Deciduous azaleas have a pleasant scent of soft woodlands, and coming down in scale, the daphnes are one of the earliest to produce a scented flower.

House walls and all fences are perfect places to plant scented climbing roses and other shrub roses that can lend to being trained against a wall. My favourite pink one is Gertrude Jekyll, and the climbing Ena Harkness is a brilliant, well-formed, deep-red scented rose.

Honeysuckles are a must, and if you have a sheltered spot try the white scented Jasminum polyanthum which can last many years, but may not survive a severe frost in winter.
One of my favourite scented ground cover plants is the succulent Delosperma nubigenum which likes a dry sunny position and is then very reliable flowering in mid summer.

Flowers: Viburnum carlecephalum

Beds And Borders

Herbaceous and border plants are often used to bring the garden structure down to ground and lawn level and give ground cover to eliminate weeding.
Flag iris, exotic oriental lilies, garden pinks and numerous herbs such as lavender, rosemary, thyme and mint will all add a range of different scents in early to late summer.
Many summer bedding plants are grown for colour as most do not have a scent, so I always include some blue petunias both for the colour and the scent.

If you have an allotment or large garden, and can afford to spare some ground for growing cut flowers for the house, then plant a row of sweet peas.

As you will be cutting flowering stems frequently, you will not need to remove seed heads. Keep them well fed and watered and they will flower well into autumn.
Border carnations are another perfect scented flower to grow for home decoration. There is a wide range of colours available and many have the strong clove scent.

Hannah McLaren

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