Assailed by scent

On still days the garden, until recently, was near overwhelmed by the beautifully clean white floral aroma of Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. Defoliated in our unusually cold winter, its flowers arrived later than usual, but with their always unsettling purity and sweetness.

This scent has now been replaced by the headier and brasher hyacinth overload – those ugly bottlebrush flowers pump it out. With hyacinths, you have to tolerate their ungainliness by either opting for the pure white, or go full on with total saturation of colour, such as the beetroot purple ‘Woodstock’ that I grow.

Though I love the scents of winter – the honeysuckle, Christmas box, lily of the valley wonder of Mahonia – it’s spring that really brings the outdoors perfumed world alive for me. Last May, in Scotland, Matt and I were constantly laughing at the surprising juxtaposition of wild garlic and bluebells in the woods where we were staying. A contrast between savoury acridity and pure spring light. Quite wondrous.

And still to come: the rich warmth of wallflowers and sweet williams, the most scented of tulips (yes, some are quite scented) ‘Ballerina’, pheasant’s eye narcissus, the roses, the lilies, Hemerocallis lilioapshodelus and ‘Marion Vaughan’, sweet rocket, the cistus on warm days, its resinous dirty intensity stopping me in my tracks, honeysuckles, the cherry pie of heliotropes, the Sambac jasmine making the greenhouse almost too petroleum floral for delicate sensibilities, phloxes, nicotiana, night-scented stocks, the honey sweetness of the alliums, the palate cleanser of the lemon verbena, the salvias ranging from tom cat spray (nice!) to blackcurrant. And more, more, more. There’s never quite enough.

There’s plenty I’d grow in addition had I the right soil or conditions. Top of the list would be Rhododendron ‘Fragrantissimum’, the Katsura tree for its comedy effect candy floss and apple wonder in Autumn, wisteria (I could grow this over the front of the house – and it is about time I reworked the front garden…), green coconut scented gorse, clove tinged carnations, custard-fuelled Azara microphylla. I’d also opt for the ladies of the night, had I but heat enough – the gardenias, tuberoses (never seem to last from one year to the next – viruses I think), plumerias and stephanotis. All together, they could overwhelm a sentient being, and I think that’s exactly what I’d like.

Tell me the scents you have in your garden, or on your balcony, or in your living space. And what you’d supplement this with, if only time and conditions allowed.

  • Bee says:

    This is the first time I join in, mainly because I’m a ballerina tulip fan too, and generally a fellow scented garden fan.
    In early spring you could have Clematis armandii (protect it in winter) and Osmanthus burkwoodii in bloom, Daphne aureomarginata is a bit earlier than bh. but sometimes tricky to grow. You could also try out weirder plants / bulbs, like some Arisaemas (candidissimum) to fill out shady areas ( I have mine in pots)…

    • Lee says:

      C. armandii is fine here, though it does look pretty battered by March, poor thing. Like lots of evergreens. The ‘Apple Blossom’ (I think) variety is even nicer…

      I had Daphne aureomarginata here a few years’ back, but it ages quickly, that shrub, and soon became a little threadbare. It’s beautiful when young though, and seems to like it here, surprisingly.

      I think my soil might be a little too dry for woodlanders like Arisaemas, though who knows. I’m longing to grow those, and trilliums…

      Lovely to have you stop by!

  • Shelley says:

    This is a tricky time of year for us nearly Upper Midwest/Great Lakes folks to talk about “spring”…it hasn’t really sprung yet…though the daffs came out in full force within the last week, if things are more typical than not, we’ll have an extended bulb season before a lot of the fragrant shrubs, trees, and flowers start up. That said…

    The hyacinth opened up a few days ago. They are near my front-facing kitchen window, so I get a chance to smell them every morning *if* the weather allows for an open window. The only thing that’s safe to pot up right now are pansies, but I did cheat a bit and put a few stock and primrose in with the pansies in a sheltered box. So, you can come on over to my house, and walk to the front door, and catch whiffs of stock, hyacinth, primrose…and, oh happy day, dirt. The smell of freshly dug dirt. Love it.

    I can conjure what is to come, though; next will be the poeticus narcissus…fragrant vibunum…then the lilacs…honey locust…tartarian honeysuckle…the crabapple…peonies…traditional honeysuckle…daylilies…roses, especially the apothecary rose I rescued from my old neighborhood (intense old rose smell)…the roses signal the start of summer, so I’ll stop there.

    I know I’ve forgotten some, but that’s okay. It’s good enough to anticipate with a short list. 🙂 Plus, I was recently in the Phoenix area, and it was clearly spring in the desert southwest. All kinds of succulents and other things in bloom, including bougainvillia. It was fascinating to smell things that a) clearly were the heralds of spring, even if not exactly familiar, and b) to draw links between types of smells. (For example, there was something that was VERY similar to honey locust, which around here is kind of a transition from early spring to hey, you’re just about to summer marker. I wondered if it was the same there.)

    Chuckling at your scents of winter, of course. Around here, that’s the clean air of a snowy day, woodsmoke, wet woolens drying by the fire (yes, we still have woolens among the PolarTec), funky boots, fake cut flowers, and forced air heat. Yes, most of the smells are inside. ‘Cause that’s where you are a lot of the time. /:) No begrudging you yours :)>- …I absolutely adore the clear demarcations between winter-spring and spring-summer. Thanks for painting such a nice olfactory picture of what’s going on in your corner of the world. 😡

  • Musette says:

    Just lovely!:x

    xo >-)

  • mary says:

    Lee, your post is inspiring! You caused me to take the time to walk around my small yard and really take the time to enjoy the flowers– something that I guess I need to be reminded to do. I am an impulse gardener– what the Annie’s Annual folks refer to as the “flower floozie.” This time of year, it works ok, because my Jackson Pollock like landscaping skills are covered up by all the blooming things. We have a front walkway draped in wisteria, and wisteria volunteers, believe it or not, blooming in a few spots too. I planted heliotrope andf flowering nicotine at the front, in a little garden under the 60 or so year old redwood tree. I planted a few Zaluzenskaya “midnight candy” in pots out front and on the deck, and a couple different kinds of stock, pinks and purples. The midnight candy opens at night, and the perfume it gives off from the tiny, cute flowrs with little heart shaped petals is intensely sweet and soothing. We have a small lemon tree, which is fragrant beyond belief when the afternoon is warm, and a quince tree just finishing up with pale pink blossoms. Roses, just starting. Melissa. Angelica. Sage. Thyme, just starting to bloom tiny pink flowers. Mint. A pot of lavender. A eucalyptus tree. And this other shrub which has sticky leaves but the sweetest smelling blooms at night. Narcissus bulbs just finshed– and wild onion ALL OVER THE PLACE. And I can’t really smell it all right now because of the grass pollen–durn. Thanks again,

    • Lee says:

      I love a flower floozy. I’ll be heading out to Annie’s Annuals the next time I visit my best friends in the Bay.

      Your garden sounds delightful – and I love the smell of that Zaluzianskya, though keep forgetting to obtain seeds of it myself…

      • mary says:

        Lee- the Zuluzianskaya(sp?)hasn’t re-seeded itself for me, but I will see if I can get some seeds off the deadheads–that’s a good thought. If I can collect some identifiable seeds, I would be happy to send some to you! Ineke’s Evening Edged in Gold has a beautiful midnight candy note, the only perfume I know of which does.

        • Lee says:

          Only problem is, the HIGHLY ILLEGAL issue of shipping seeds across the Atlantic. Cuz the world will end if you do…

          (Annie’s Annuals ship though, in spite of protestations I’ve heard elsewhere…. And I’d love some!).

  • K.R. says:

    I am so printing this entire post and comment thread to remind me that I’m not alone in gobsmackedness over winter/early spring fragrance. I too am inspired by the scents of witch hazel, wintersweet and winter honeysuckle. Managed to encourage three Katsuras to flourish, but none of them offer the caramel fall thing. Suggestions Lee? This week I discovered that Louise, a weeping crab apple has the most compelling astringent fragrance.

    • Lee says:

      Hmmm… I don’t know. The species ALWAYS smells overpowering here. Comically so, actually. I’m puzzled.

  • Tammy says:

    Y’all need to trade your forsythia in for some witch hazels…..earlier flowers which are very fragrant if not particularly pretty, and decent to fabulous Fall color depending on variety.

    I am gardening long distance at the moment; our retirement acreage, which we only get to visit once a year. I am in the midst of getting my larger shrubs in, and am choosing plants based solely on fragrance.

    There are several gorgeously fragrant azaleas, which are also less garish than the more commonly grown ones and have good Fall color, which I cannot live without. (Rhododendron prinophyllum and Rhododendron viscosum, if you’re interested)

    Other favorite winter bloomers include Chimonanthus praecox (wintersweet),Iris unguicularis, Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima).

    But do, please, look in to witch hazels!

  • nozknoz says:

    Lee, your garden sounds WONDERFUL, and it is fascinating to hear about the range of scented plants that you can enjoy throughout the seasons. I don’t think there is anything here in the Washington DC area that blooms in winter – even the grass dies except in very sheltered areas. Now, however, there are many beautiful blooming trees and shrubs. Cherry and other fruit trees have been blooming. The redbuds, dogwoods and camellias are out now. Some hollies have little green flowers. There are some highly perfumed magnolias and lilacs. Soon we’ll have brightly colored rhododendrons and azalias, and lovely wisterias. We have honeysuckle vines that bloom in the summer, so I wonder if it’s the same plant that is called honeysuckle where you are, or not. I enjoy all these things in my neighborhood, but my balcony is too shaded for most plants. I used to live in tropical areas and really miss frangipani. :-< Thanks for this interesting topic! (*)

    • Lee says:

      I think it might be the same genus of honeysuckle – Lonicera – though there are loads of species and garden varieties, some more scented than others.

  • Flora says:

    Lee, your garden sounds like MY dream garden, it must be lovely!

    Right now I have Daphne ‘Summer Ice” in bloom – a lovely misnomer since it blooms virtually year round, and my little-leaf lilac is just coming on for its first bllom – I usually get 4 cycles from it. The wallflowers are in full swiing too – I let them go where they want and throw the seeds everywhere!

    Later I will have fragrant roses all over the place, especially my beloved David Austin English Roses, and Nicotiana, and of course my favorites of all, the lilies – I favor stately trumpets and Orientals, with the perfume intensifying at night and filling the air. If you don’t have it already, try to get your hands on ‘Silk Road’ – it’s a veritable tree of a lily, and perhaps the most fragrant of all, with an intensity to rival Cardiocrinum giganteum, minus the wait and high price! :d

    • Lee says:

      Wallflowers are promiscuous little sluts, aren’t they? Do you find the babies all end up browny yellow? They do here… Except for the species of course.

      Keen to look out for Silk Road, though it’s cheaper here than Cardiocrinum. Which I can’t grow – soil too dry and too alkaline…

      • Flora says:

        Too alkaline, eh? That English chalk? Too dry? Please tell me you grow Madonna lilies, that’s just perfect for them! I lose them here, too much acid and wet! Nothing is so lovely as those pure alabaster bloom in the moonlight, and they are so deliciously scented.

        Chinese trumpets don’t mind the alkaline either, and they are so stupendously fragrant in the evening. Of course, you can always grow the other sorts in big pots, in a compost mix. I grow many lilies that way since my soil is heavy, fine clay that takes a lot of amending to breathe properly.

        • Lee says:

          I’m actually on a sandy loam that’s alkaline, and the lime mortar flint walls round the garden just up the ante. Madonna lilies… I’ll try again by planting a few in late summer, I promise. Muy last lot virused out.

  • sweetlife says:

    Where is my English garden?

    Hell, where is my English gardener?


  • grizzlesnort says:

    Look for a gardenia called ‘Frostproof.’ I put one in last summer and said, ‘we’ll see.’ Low temps in the winter here are often at or below freezing. We had at least one week of below freezing temps–teens and 20s- and a bit of snow. So far, so good. I thought I’d left gardenias behind when I moved from S. Texas to the Pacific NW. Happy, happy.

    • Lee says:

      That doesn’t seem to be available over here just yet, though we have Gardenia Kleim’s Hardy which might be similar (and which I got hold of yesterday. Happy days). Thanks for the recommendation. I will explore further…

  • Julie (Ginger) says:

    I have just started my fixation on perfume, but a decade ago when I began to garden seriously, I determined early on to only plant things that smelled good. This should have been a clue to the coming perfume hobby. Anyway, I followed that rule with few exceptions (poppies… I am hopelessly in love). My heart is gladdened to see there are others out there with the same convictions! Some of my favorites are my 3 varieties of thyme,my old fashioned roses!!![lots of those, all smelly], and bee balm (bergamot). Not blooming yet, of course, but the thyme still smells wonderful when you tread on it. Oh, and the mock orange tree.

    • Lee says:

      I’m with you on the poppies. In fact, I probably grow more unscented things than I do scented, because I find so many plants irresistible. I can’t grow bee balm here – death by mildew!

  • Tom says:

    we’re int he midst of jasmine here. Warn days and cool nights that smell of jasmine. It’s heaven, until the ground shakes, that is! :((

  • dissed says:

    Waiting for Madame Hardy to bloom in early May. Last year, after failing to prune for three years, one of the shrubs reached greater than 40 feet in circumference. I had thousands and thousands of blooms. Intoxicating scent.

    • Flora says:

      How wonderful! I let my ‘Buff Beauty’ go wild too, only cutting off winter-killed branches, and it’s really big now. It has become a short climber and has completely taken over a 10-year old woody butterfly bush (Buddleia)that has deep violet blooms in summer, so the color combo I get is eye-popping. I love how this Hybrid Musk rose, like all of its kind, throws its scent on the air, unlike most other roses which must be approached closely to be smelled. @};-

    • Lee says:

      She certainly knows how to grow, that Madame Hardy, doesn’t she?

      And Flora – I love the sort of eye-popping colour combination you describe.

  • janh says:

    My Sutter’s Gold rose is a great mix of citrus and rose scent. Orange blossoms of course and our yellow palo verde smells like the desert. I’ve tried nicotiana but they dont grow here very well.

    • Lee says:

      Too dry? The best scented one is Nicotiana sylvestris, and as it’s latin implies, it likes a bit of cool shade…

  • Disteza says:

    The only smelly thing in our yard (it doesn’t merit the term ‘garden’) is the apple tree that has decided to blossom out of season. It’s entirely covered with potent-smeling bloosoms, which is odd as the daffodils haven’t quite died off, and the azaleas are just starting to bloom. Spring here has been of-kilter, but I’m not complaining when the apple blossom scent wafts through our upstairs windows and perfumes the whole house!

  • maggiecat says:

    My house is redolent of Easter lillies right now, and I’m loving them. Outside here in Dallas is an adventure – new blooms every day, a different scent everytime I turn around and I don’t even know what most of them are. I’ll be planting rosebushes soon (something I warned my new husband I would do as soon as Spring came). And when I lived in Florida, I enjoyed not only lime blossoms, but several jasmine bushes I planted myself. Sometimes at night I almost became dizzy with the heat and the rich scents!

  • Olfacta says:

    Hmmm…I’m in the process of planting a fragrant garden. Tuberose bulbs (planted 9, I think the squirrels got some, ordered some more) and a new variety of four’o’clocks with an orange blossom-like scent. I’ll have nicotiana in there too, if I can find some already sprouted (don’t have any space for starting the seeds indoors.) I grow varieties of thyme in a patch by the pond, and creeping thyme around the patio, meant to be stepped on. We have a Carolina jessamine in bloom right now, and a Lady Banks rose (a southern heirloom, not actually a rose) climbing an arbor and fence. It’s coming into bloom, and the azaleas are too. I have lots of irises and day lilies, but they don’t smell. A couple of David Austin rosebushes that don’t have much fragrance either. I have herbs, too, Spanish lavender around the roses, sages, basil when it gets a little warmer, and a small kitchen garden patch currently growing salad greens. I wish I could have a night-blooming jasmine or a bouganvilla, both vines that can’t survive our climate. So I’ve planted Moonflower vines all along our fence, and a morning glory under an gothic gate-like thing I found at a thrift store.

  • Astra says:

    Colorado is so dry that it is difficult for scents to drift very far from their sources. Still, you are right about the hyacinth–mine are going crazy. I think my favorite summer scents are lilac, night-blooming stock, nicotiana, and the tuberose I grow on my deck. Thank goodness it’s finally spring!

  • ScentRed says:

    Since having children my foray into gardening has been severely curtailed. Now that both kidlets are out of the diapers and eating dirt stage, I hope to revitalize this hobby. Even through complete neglect, though, the lilacs, lily of the valley and lavender have carried on doing their awe-inspiring thing without me. Hopefully before too long I’ll see the first two and then I’ll know that this winter is finally over.

    I adore linden blossoms and have considered planting a tree in our yard.(If it wasn’t for my husband’s pesky shed…)If I lived somewhere warmer than Canada I’d grow a garden of freesia. The peppery, green, creamy scent of a white freesia is my all-time favorite, calm-inducing smell. I’ve given up trying to find it in a fragrance. Even Diptyque Ofreesia doesn’t really capture it, but it is the closest I’ve found. I’m guessing that the scent I enjoy is the combination of the flower, stalks and leaves. Every fragrance I’ve tried seems artificial. Like cherry flavour in things – sweet and OK, but nothing close to the real deal.

    • Lee says:

      Fresh freesias are amazing. You could just be brutal and plant up the bulbs indoors each spring, leave them to flower in pots each summer, and then bin them each autumn… Decadent I know.

      Linden is incredible – I’m lucky to live round the corner from a mile long avenue of closely planted linden trees and when they’re in bloom, it’s truly incredible.

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    Here in Florida, spring means the citrus trees are in bloom. For scent purposes, I would need a whole yard of them, as each species flowers at different times. I love the sweet, almost overpowering, scent. Also, confederate jasmine, for the scent.

  • Ruanne says:

    Ahh…That was better than reading a plant catalogue (and i love reading plant catalogues.) Lovely descriptions.

    It’s lilac time here now, and it doesn’t get any better than that. The last of the daffodils are up, including one with a delicate peach/pink cup that smells wonderful- delicate & fresh, and a white one that smells like sweet rot. I just skimmed my garden journals to see what their names are, and of course, I can’t find them.

    There will be no Tulips Angelique this year, as the deer got in early on, but there will be peonies- so many peonies.

    What I would like to grow are tough old fragrant roses- ones that don’t need a laboratory full of chemicals to survive. I started researching them last summer, and had to take a step back and acknowledge that I only have about a square foot left of available sunny space and a budget of zero dollars.

    • Lee says:

      Like you, I sometimes have to rationalise my growing plans!

      Bloody deer. Fortunately, I have a walled garden here, but my allotment / community garden affair is occasionally beset by deer and rabbits. Cute demons from hell.

      Is the white one Narcissus Jenny?

      • Ruanne says:

        I have narrowed it down- the white one is either “Misty Glen” or “Stainless-” I planted both in roughly the same area (I don’t have “Jenny” but she’s on my want list.) The peach to pink cup is “N. Audubon.” I set out with big plans to record precisely where each variety is planted and then when I get out there, I start seeing all kinds of random places I could tuck in a bulb or 5 and the plan completely breaks down.

  • Christine L says:

    Your yard sounds beautiful both visually and aromatically! I never actually thought about it before but I most definately choose my landscape plants for their fragrances! When I moved here the yard was already pretty established……hydrangea and decorative sea grasses in the front and not much of anything for the back. I kidnapped all of my irises from my first house and transplanted them here. Next I planted three gorgeous forsythia to create a privace screen between myself and my neighbor. ( not fragrant…..I know). BUT after that it became all about fragrant flowers. I planted peonies both by the garage and in a large container on the porch. I have a HUGE whisky barrel full of lavender next to a container of Lily of the Valley. I placed a lilac beneath the kitchen window so I can smell it while doing the washing up. I’m thinking about what to add to my landscape this summer……I think I need to add some honeysuckle vine.
    Thank you for waking me to this tendency I had not noticed in myself!

    • maidenbliss says:

      My forsythia borders the woods next to my home, but you gave me a great idea for privacy on the ‘neighbor side’ of my lot. I’m surprised I’d not thought of it before–been wracking my brain to think of something. Is it a slow grower? Everything in my yard was planted before I moved in, crocus, tons of daffodils, roses, lots of Mountain Laurel which bloom big and pink; many varieties which I’m not familiar with since I’m not from this state originally–even the birds are different here! I’ve got three little flowers that look identical to a bunch of hanging grapes that come up each May. I sent a pic to my sister in Houston-she is a master gardener and volunteers at the arboretum-she had no idea what they are. I plant a lot of herbs to use in cooking and just to smell, but since I’m nestled into a mountain I haven’t much flat ground to work with.

      • Shelley says:

        But wait…do the flowers look identical to a bunch of grapes, except upside down on top of a single stem? And are @8″ tall? That could be grape hyacinth, aka muscari.

        How tall are these mysterious grape looking plants? What kind of leaves? (As you can see, not only am I catching up on comments, I love me a good garden mystery…)

        • Lee says:

          I thought it sounded muscari-ish myself…

          Isn’t May a little late though? I’m swamped by those buggers right now in my front garden.

        • maidenbliss says:

          😕 So glad you are late to this garden party! YES! That is exactly what they look like-upside down on
          a single stem and light purple/lavender. I think they’re a bit shy of 8”, no leaves that I remember, just the grape cluster. I took a pic of it on my iMac but it’s not a clear enough picture.
          My hands were made for music so what do I know about gardening? Very little, I guess. Everyone’s gardens are so beautiful! If only I could adopt Lee! I do have a cucumber tree (tree expert visited-he was impressed w the trees), butternut trees and apple, tons of others I have no names for. The people who lived here before me planted a lot ginseng and sold it to make extra money. That could
          be an interesting endeavor:) Let me know what you think.^:)^

          • Lee says:

            The leaves are very grasslike, so easy to miss. Then the whole plant, like so many bulbs, goes to sleep for the summer…

            Ginseng? Man, your neighbourhood’ll be living into the 100s!

          • maidenbliss says:

            Yes, you’re right. They only do their little grape dance for maybe a week and then I don’t see them
            again until the next year. I don’t remember them having a scent. Are the leaves tucked in between
            the grapes?
            There are so many plants that look like ginseng-I did google – that I wander around in the forest trying to figure out the real deal. Also, chefs flock to this area for mushrooms and there are
            clubs that gather every year to forage. Doesn’t sound like I should attempt
            that since I barely know my flowers :d Ironically, a friend sent me 10 packs of flowers to plant and I’ve never heard of most of them. Achillea millefolium rubrum? Asclepias tuberosa? Berlandiera lyrata?aka as Chocolate Flower.

          • Shelley says:

            Sometimes that muscari scent is all about the waft…mine opened up a couple of days ago, and I knew it because I was somewhere else in the yard. Sweet/honeyish, not as far toward obnoxious as traditional hyacinth. Lee’s right about the leaves…they tend to surround the stem in a loose grassy clump.

            Your achillea is what a lot of people call yarrow, and like the asclepias (butterfly plant), will attract butterflies. I was just looking with amazement at how it seems my yarrow spread *during the winter* under the cover of snow. It is, erm, vigorous and opportunistic. But it makes a great cut flower, is very low maintenance, and easy to yank out wherever you don’t want it. Haven’t grown the Berlandia, though I’ve heard of it.

            I am a big fan of the ephemerals, the ones that come up to do their flower thing, then go away until next year…I call them the garden “hauntings”…kind of like En Passant… 😉

          • maidenbliss says:

            I’m trying to remember if there was a scent at all–I’m huge on smell, well, obviously,
            I’m here ain’t I:d? I don’t remember, but I’m waiting for them to make their appearance
            so I can get my nose right into the cluster. I gave someone my En Passant sample. Smells like
            Easter to my nose. But not in a good way. Are you familiar with Hackmanite (Afghanistan)?
            Another of the seed samples I was sent. Ah, if only my thumbs were greener…I’m going to
            get the achillea into the ground as I love my other butterfly shrub/tree and the hummingbirds
            go crazy for it as well.
            It’s very humid where I live and the muscari-if that is what they are, get full sun till around

          • Shelley says:

            Ah, I meant more like the way En Passant seems to disappear, then come back, not a direct compare with the smell itself.

            Hee…yup, you’re here. There’s got to be a nose connection. 🙂 Nope, I don’t know from Hackmanite…found some cool entries on minerals when I tried to learn myself something. 😕

          • maidenbliss says:

            Well, go figure! The friend who sent them is a rock/crystal
            expert who used to be on eBay and now sells on her web site. I’ve been a serious
            rock collector for over 25 years and used to build rock gardens-no flowers. Crystals,
            agates, quartz, fossils. I made rock collages, actually. The crystalline musk in certain crystals is so addicting I used to hold them to my nose, well actually I still do. I ‘stole’ a stone from Bath, England while on a tour with signs warning not to touch! I just couldn’t help myself:)
            :x[-( I often wonder which addiction is worse-perfume or beautiful rocks. Double terminated crystals are so wonderful. Ever held in your hand a Smoky Quartz? Divine.

          • Shelley says:

            Sorry, but I’ve got to do this. [-( As in, “I will not succumb to another obsession. I will NOT. Will…not….”

            Actually, there’s a cool joint around these parts, called Dave’s Rock Shop. Has his own crazy collection of fossils in a museum like setting in the basement. The kids have loved going there forever, which was a win/win for me. And I have a path of rocks from my various vacations on the basement stair ledge. But I WILL NOT seriously get into rocks. No sireee. /:)


            Hey, do you have that feeling that the bar closed a while ago, and everybody left, but didn’t bother to tell you? I keep checking here between garden duties…having a great day…hope the same for all the others who aren’t yarking… :>

          • maidenbliss says:

            LOL!! Of course I feel alone in the bar!:(( Especially since there isn’t a ‘repy’ choice next to your last entry:-? leaving me to post above yours. I googled hackmanite and found this amazing opal site-too bad it’s in Australia. :(( Of course
            I would love to visit Dave’s–kids just naturally love rocks!, mine included, although not to the degree I’ve taken it. I’m getting such great ideas for my slanted yard here today and I think I may go with some honeysuckle. I think everyone is done for the day but I still pop in for a look.

    • Lee says:

      Definitely add the honeysuckle. Problem free for me, except for the aphids that can quickly disfigure it if you don’t watch out. And they’re disgustingly grey mealy ones. Ugh.

      I’d love to see a pic of those flowers to try to work out what they are!

  • Winifreida says:

    I’ve always tried for the scented garden and here I am lucky to be able to get some things from the tropics like the ubiquitous frangipani, and some temperate things. I once got tuberose to flower! I grow some super stunners like the port wine magnolia (a michelia), the nocturnal jessamine (A cestrum, but not the bad green one)[this thing just HAUNTS me with – those unexplainable longings when I smell it], datura, murraya, gardenias, the lemony magnolia Little Gem [one of the world’s greatest plants]. I have a David Austin rose – struggles with the dreaded black spot in the coastal humidity – Jude the Obscure, myrrhe scented, unbelievably beautiful. Stephanotis twines on a balcony. Some sasanqua camellias have a musty soft tea scent, they are out now. Lillies, the Inca lily, wow. I had a champaca at my last house. Then there are amazing ‘geraniums’ with all sorts of leaf smells..and herbs and …yes, I hardly put a plant in without considering its scent. I’ve tried many you mention, but my present garden is mostly shrubby.(The chooks wreak havok in the borders!)
    Australia has some unique scented plants, the brown boronia being famous; there is a paperbark tree on at the moment which smells like burnt honey.
    Gardening is a perfumed joy, even the soil and grass is wonderful. I always put Cristalle on before I do the mowing!

    • Lee says:

      I love the michelia smell. And I had a nocturnal jessamine too, though my hard winter treatment of it (greenhouse kept just above fr4eezing) was a little too harsh and it died. Smells of nothing (well, dough?) in the daytime, but wondrous at night.But I do grow Brugmansias/daturas, and they survive the same harsh treatment.

      I know Jude the Obscure – a lovely rose, though perhaps a little too refined for my own colour palate!

  • Fiordiligi says:

    I live in a flat by the river, so no garden for me! And the cut flowers we have are always unscented as we both sneeze otherwise (despite our love for scent from a bottle).

    You paint a beautiful picture of an English garden though – thank you!

    • Lee says:

      It’s not that English really – just that the smelly elements typically are. And I have to take allergy tablets from early March through to November, so I know all about sneezing!

  • aotearoa says:

    A cornucopia of flowers! Here in the Southern Hemisphere the last bunches of my frangipani are doing their best – they are delicious. I take on every day for the Cook Islands receptionist who places it jauntily in her hair and looks fabulous. Sadly,it just looks foolish if I try it.
    Their scent is fabulous in the garden ,but I don’t want it on my skin.
    What is green coconut scented gorse? – sounds delicious

    • Lee says:

      Ulex europaeus, aotearoa. It has a coconut and a green smell in its blossoms. And they’re always on the plant, whatever time of year… It is quite lovely. But the shrub is too much of a behemoth for my garden (nor would it like the alkaline conditions, I think).

  • Joe says:

    Lee, your garden sounds like a wonder to behold! And you’ve made me realize that, though I garden a bit in a little plot outside the front of my apartment, and have containers all over the front porch and sun porch, nary any of my plants are scented. How strange that seems to me. I do have a bit of mint and four rosemary plants out in the yard, but otherwise, it’s mostly succulents, christmas cacti, foliage houseplants, and zonal geraniums (the acrid leaf smell of which I do kind of enjoy).

    I love the neighbors’ vines of jasmine that are exploding lately, as well as the blossoms of citrus trees in the neighborhood (I did try planting my own dwarf Kaffir lime, but the poor thing seems stunted).

    You’ve prompted me to think about adding some perfumery to my container collection: maybe some heliotrope. Still envious of your garden though. Enjoy the weekend.

    • Lee says:

      Joe, maybe you should get yourself some scented leaf pelargoniums? April Hamilton is a great one, for starters.

      I’d love a kaffir lime tree too – one of the best smells ever.