June is a lovely month in the garden. The flowering plants are looking good and the borders are fresh and verdant. One of the main delights is to pick a flower and enjoy the lovely scent. Most flowers do not carry in the air, although Philadelphus, Honeysuckle and some roses will do so, particularly if they are in a sheltered spot. It’s not often we have such lovely sunshine, so lets make the most of it and sit down and smell the roses (and others!)
Here are some of my favourite scented plants that I grow:
1. Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’
This is a medium sized deciduous shrub which will grow in most normal garden conditions. It is not the most interesting of shrubs until it starts flowering and then you can smell the beautiful sweet scent on the air. A must have for me. In a smaller garden there are shorter varieties such as Manteau d’Hermine or Silver Showers.
The climbing honeysuckle. Ours seems to be early into flower this year, and in the evening the scent of this (together with summer jasmine) is almost overpowering, ready to attract the night flying insects. The pink and yellow L americana does well, as does the yellow Graham Thomas (which would look good with the climbing rose Graham Thomas). Honeysuckle is fairly easy, but prefers a moist soil.
These have to be the most popular scented plants of all. All of my roses are in bloom, the shrubs, hybrid teas and floribundas. They are all loving this warm spell but blackspot is appearing, which is not good for a no spray gardener! I am particularly enjoying the new David Austin roses we have bought for our Yew Walk – all doing pretty well. Remember Michael Marriot from David Austin Roses will be coming to give a talk here early next year, so perhaps he can advise.
4. Sweet Peas
It surely can’t be a coincidence that two of our most popular flowers are roses and sweet peas – it must surely be connected to the scent. I particularly love sweet peas, and they are now going strong and producing lots of flowers. There are so many varieties to choose from. I usually choose mainly the large Spencer varieties with a few of the older heritage ones, such as Matucana, as these have very strong scents. Look for the more robust varieties and keep them well fed and keep cutting off the flower stems to stop the plant going to seed. The photo below is of ‘Sarah’ which is my daughter’s name, and I also have ‘Pip’s Maroon’ which is my son’s name (Philip, not maroon!).
5. Dianthus / Pinks
These lovely scented plants really prefer an alkaline soil, so are not really brilliant in our slightly acid soil, although they do tend to go straggly after a few years wherever you grow them. I find the alpine ones do better here. Whetmans do a large range of pinks as do Allwoods, and they are quite easy t buy in garden centres. Some of those we have here are, I have got ‘Passion’ a dark pink/red, Mrs Sinkins, an old fashioned split flowered white one (which lasts better than the others), Devon Wizard, pinky purple, and a pink dwarf variety, Little Gem. I love the clove scent of all of them.
These are just a few of my favourite scented plants. Don’t forget some of the other strongly scented flowers : lavender, sweet william, evening primrose, lilies, day lilies, I even love the smell of lupins.