Wellywoman and Backlane Notebook have started a new meme called ‘Scent in the Garden’ and as for me, fragrance is such an important element in the garden, I have to join in. The winter garden is more scented than at any other time of the year. There are so few pollinators about that the plants that are blooming now have to make sure that they get noticed.
Nobody could overlook the wonderful pervasive musky smell of Sarcococca it travels such a long way. I would love a hedge of it, but for the time being, I have to content myself with having it dotted about the garden so that I keep coming upon the scent.
I mentioned this lovely Muscari ”Golden Fragrance’ recently. I have brought it into the house and the scent is absolutely delicious and filling the room but not in a cloying way.
I planted lots of little Iris reticulata and histrioides in pots in the greenhouse this year so that I could inspect the flawless flowers close at hand and enjoy the fragrance. But they aren’t fragrant. Iris reticulata is mildly scented but none of the hybrids are.
I have sniffed the various Iris unguicularis, although most of them are getting over now. None of them smell at all, apart from the lovely, lavender ‘Walter Butt’ which smells delicious.
I have picked a few snowdrops to sniff because it seems to me that they don’t have much fragrance outside. I had already found that Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ is scented although my ordinary nivalis don’t smell at all. I nose- tested ‘Brenda Troyle’, ‘S. Arnott’ and ‘Ginn’s imperati’. The first two smelled of honey as they are supposed to. ‘Ginn’s Imperati’ is supposed to smell of bitter almonds. I don’t actually know what bitter almonds smell of, or if this is desirable. To me it does have a distinct fragrance which is quite pleasant. I also picked the last bloom of ‘Reverend Hailstone’ and to my surprise he had a strong fragrance. I have not read anywhere that he is supposed to smell nice.
Several bloggers have said how disappointed they are in the fragrance of their witch hazels. I think Hamamelis is never as strong- smelling as when you buy it and bring it home in the car. The whole car smells delicious, but outside the scent seems to get diffused in the cold air and disappear. I think the flowers have to warm up a bit to smell good. The yellow ones smell quite fruity. Stephen Lacey wrote about them in his book; ‘Scent in The Garden’. He said that the orange and red ones smell of parrot. I had to read this twice. Parrot? What on earth does parrot smell like and how does he know? I hate it when people throw out remarks like that, without explanation. Fragrances are difficult to describe, but for goodness sake; parrot! I sniffed lovely ‘Livia’ and there is not much fragrance. Thank goodness she doesn’t smell of parrot.
I have already mentioned the heavenly smell and profuse flowers of Lonicera purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ this year. I have also said how I crazy I am about the sweet spiciness of the waxy flowers of the wonderful Chimonanthus, although it is going over now and I took this photo a while ago. This one is Chimonanthus grandiflorus. I also have Chimonanthus praecox which has smaller flowers but I think they smell stronger.
I can’t finish a description of fragrance in the garden this month without mentioning yet again Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ . I know I am always on about her, but there is no scent in the garden as wonderful as this. Really it is just the best; absolutely intoxicating. It is always covered in flowers. It is expensive to buy, but well worth it.