Scent in the June Garden.

I am a bit late this month with my contribution to the Scent in the Garden Meme. I have been away with my lovely friends: the ‘Women who Weed’ to the ‘Gardens in the Wild Festival’ in Herefordshire. Here we saw some amazing gardens and listened to such illustrious speakers as Anna Pavord, Tim Richardson, James Hitchmough, Derry Watkins and Alys Fowler.

Everywhere I have been this June, on my journey from the East of the country to the West, I have been struck by how amazing the roses are this year.

Do you know the kitschy painting by the Victorian artist, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, ‘The Roses of Heliogabalus‘? He was an artist renowned for his depictions of naked women and marble. He attempted to make nudity respectable by giving it a classical theme. This painting depicts one of the orgies of the debauched, psychotic young emperor, Elagabalus; the one where he thought it would be fun to sit and watch as his guests were smothered to  a scented death under a deluge of rose petals. The scent of roses is so sensuous and delicious that it is not surprising that the uptight Victorians seemed to associate the rose with decadence. At the moment, on a walk round the garden one  feels rather  like those unfortunate guests, drowning in fragrance.
The most scented rose I have is the old Bourbon ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’. It is a luscious, deep red/pink colour and is well known for its wonderful fruity fragrance. Unfortunately, it is an untidy bush and suffers from black spot, but still I keep it for its scent.

Madame Isaac Pereire

Madame Isaac Pereire

David Austin said that one of the most fragrant of his roses is the lovely apricot ‘Evelyn’. It has huge flowers which unfortunately hang their heads under the weight as they mature. The scent is delicious though.



I love peachy or apricot roses. I have the wonderful climbing tea rose ‘Lady Hillingdon’.  She hangs her heads, but they are a lovely deep apricot which look as if they have been dipped in tea. They are fantastically fragrant.

Lady Hillingdon

Lady Hillingdon

I also love the popular musk rose ‘Buff Beauty’ which makes a large bush and always has healthy foliage.

'Buff Beauty'

‘Buff Beauty’

The David Austin rose ‘Grace’ is a gorgeous deep apricot colour and has an intoxicating warm fragrance.



Much deeper in colour is the David Austin ‘Summer Song’ which he describes as burnt orange. I love this rose and it is fantastically fragrant.

'Morning Song'

‘Morning Song’

Amongst the yellows my favourite is another David Austin rose, the climbing ‘Teasing Georgia’

'Teasing Georgia'

‘Teasing Georgia’

We will be here all day if I list all my roses so here is a mosaic of some of them.

A wonderful frothy background for the roses is provided by Crambe cordifolia. The flowers smell deliciously of honey and bees love it.

Crambe cordifolia

Crambe cordifolia

Philadelphus has such a delicious orange blossom fragrance that it is a good idea to have it dotted about the garden. I grow it by my gate and at the end of paths. The golden leaved form shows up beautifully in a shady corner.

Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus'

Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’

Peonies don’t last long but they are a wonderful sumptuous June flower. Have you ever smelt them? I have a wonderful book written by the French writer, Colette called ‘Pour un Herbier‘ She writes beautiful descriptions of flowers and I was intrigued when she wrote that peonies smell of peonies or in other words- ‘le hanneton’. I had to look this word up and found that it means ‘cockchafer’. These are beetles which are called May bugs in Suffolk. My son lives on a boat, (I showed you his jetty garden last year.) He has May bugs crashing onto his jetty in May and early June, although I never see them here. He is delighted by them and when he holds up his finger they land on it. I find it odd that he likes them so much, given his horror of cockroaches, which look pretty similar to me. He says they are adorable because they have cute eyebrows. When I asked him what they smell like, he said that he had never thought of sniffing them. So we have to take Colette’s word for it that they smell of peonies.

Melontha melontha

Melontha melontha











I think Colette must have been referring to Paeonia officinalis which has a rather rank odour. By the way, if you would like to read a translation of her book, there is one called: ‘Flowers and Fruit’, edited by Robert Phelps and translated by Matthew Ward. It is not a particularly good translation, but it gives you some idea of her lyrical writing. Actually I don’t know how reliable she is at describing flower scent. She said that Lilac smells of scarab beetles. How on earth did she know?

Some peonies have a wonderful fragrance. I love the creamy white Paeonia lactiflora ‘Duchesse de Nemours’. It smells delicious.

Paonia lactiflora 'Duchesse de Nemours'

Paonia lactiflora ‘Duchesse de Nemours’

I will finish with some lovely scented pinks which don’t smell of beetles of any kind.



Thanks to Wellywoman and BacklaneNotebook for introducing this meme. Ali at thelonggardenpath is very keen on scent in the garden too, so do go and see what fragrance she is enjoying at the moment.

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61 Responses to Scent in the June Garden.

  1. rusty duck says:

    Jude the Obscure is the most scented of the Austin roses to my nose. Summer Song is on my list, for the colour alone! Love your buggy friend shouting “hey look at me!”.

  2. Tina says:

    I was breathing deeply as I read–I wish your beautiful scented blooms could travel through the Internet! All of the blooms are gorgeous, but that first one–stunning!

  3. What a great idea for a meme! I wasn’t aware of this one, but I will have to chime in! You have some stunning Roses. I have a soft spot for the peachy/apricot ones, too, but especially the peachy pink ones like ‘Grace.’ I miss my Peonies: They’re done for the year. 😦

  4. The roses are glorious, Chloris. wish I could smell their fragrance, but I’ll have to imagine.

  5. Kris P says:

    Your garden must be a wondrous place for all the senses, Chloris. No peonies here, nor many roses, much the pity.

  6. Brian Skeys says:

    I picked some ‘Duchesse de Nemours’ from the garden this year for the first time they have a lovely delicate scent. I would not associate them with Cockchafers at all ( They are a real No No bug in our house). Rose Albertine is a favourite here for scent.

    • Chloris says:

      Duchesse de Nemours smells wonderful, I think Colette was referring to Paeonia officinalis which does smell a bit peculiar. I love Albertine too.

  7. I love perfumes and aromas in the garden, though you need warmth, it is nice to see all your wonderful roses, Frances

  8. Can you imagine that cockchafer wiggling its eyebrows? Hilarious. Your roses are dreamy. I love the colour of Summer Song and if it is so scented I will certainly look out for it. Cheers.

    • Chloris says:

      My son thinks these beetles are adorable, they have such comical faces. They are a bit too cockroach – like for me.
      Summer Song is a real beauty.

  9. Sam says:

    There’s nothing that says Summer quite like an abundance of roses. We have several renovated bushes but I’ve no idea what type as they were here when we moved to this house. Gorgeous photos. I like the look of that beetle (although I’m sure I wouldn’t if it flew into my house!).

    • Chloris says:

      I have quite a few anonymous roses too that were already here. I have found the names for some but others are still puzzling me. I know ‘ a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’, but I do like to be able to name names.

  10. Julie says:

    Brilliant post, who are the women that weed? Sounds like a really interesting trip, love the May beetles eyebrows, I can see why your son likes them so much.

  11. Chloris says:

    Thank you Julie. The ‘Women who Weed’ is the name we give ourselves, we are a group of gardening friends and we like to go off on garden related jaunts together. In view of the name of the festival we thought of renaming ourselves ‘ Wild Gardeners’ this year.
    I thought you might like that May Bug.

  12. mattb325 says:

    The variety of roses in your garden is just amazing. I love them in early summer before the black spot starts to take hold 🙂 The scent in the garden must be absolutely wonderful!

    • Chloris says:

      I try to choose varieties that don’ t succumb to black spot although I make an exception for Madame Isaac Pereire. The ones that do get black spot are chopped right down and they usually grow back healthy for the rest of the year.

  13. croftgarden says:

    Thank you, I enjoyed your lovely roses. I don’t think that my few straggly chlorotic bits of Rosa rugosa will flower this year. We removed most of it from the hedge (another failed experiment) but some has escaped onto the roadside verge. I really should remove it, but I do so enjoy the few flowers it produces and the greenfinches enjoy the hips.

  14. Splendid all these roses 😉

  15. Cathy says:

    I wish I could smell your roses Chloris! They are certainly lovely to look at in any case. My garden is full of the scent of elderflowers right now… almost overpowering, but delicious! We get May bugs here too, but I have never sniffed at one. Too late to try this year!

    • Chloris says:

      It is a good idea choosing roses for their fragrance, mostly I do too, but there are some like Sally Holmes that I love anyway. I love single roses so I have quite a few .My favourites are the fragrant ones though.
      I have never sniffed May bugs either, what a peculiar thing to do. As for Lilac smelling of Scarab beetles, I have never even seen a Scarab beetle, let alone sniffed one. Colette may have written lyrical prose but I can’ t help thinking she must have been a bit odd.

  16. Pauline says:

    All your roses are fantastic, the ones I have planted have all been chosen for their perfume. I love it when perfume wafts round the garden on the breeze and I’m following it like a Bisto Kid! Love the photo of the May bug, what a super face!

    • Chloris says:

      It is a good idea choosing roses for their fragrance, mostly I do too, but there are some like Sally Holmes that I love anyway. I love single roses so I have quite a few .My favourites are the fragrant ones though.

  17. What a sumptuous collection of roses you have. I could almost imagine what it must be like to walk amongst the booms. You will have oodles of stock for your Monday vases and Tuesday and Wednesday and….

    • Chloris says:

      I do have lots of roses. I am still not keen on picking them. I really should pick them more but I love to see them in the garden. When the weather is like this I am in the garden all the time anyway.

  18. Debra says:

    Woot. That is the cutest bug face I have ever seen! All those roses. Sigh. Must be a bit like heaven. Not sure I have a favourite for scent but I really do love the plain old ordinary rugosa. Love the name of your group. I am betting you all have a LOT of fun together. I should start a branch office here. But maybe I will call it women who run with the weeds. haha

    • Chloris says:

      The Maybug is rather cute close up, I had never noticed until my son pointed it out. I am not too keen on big clattery beetles myself but I know you love bugs.
      The Women who Weed are great fun to go away garden jaunting with. You should start a branch over there. We could make it a world – wide organisation. To join it you have to: plants
      2. have a sense of humour.
      People who aren’ t funny need not apply. We might be a bit geeky, but we are funny- geeky.

  19. Wow, your collection of roses is awe-inspiring. I have seen some of yours in catalogs and other gardens, the only one I have myself is ‘Sally Holmes’. I’m quite fond of Sally, though she is only moderately fragrant. All your pictures make me want to press my nose to the computer screen and take a sniff!

    • Chloris says:

      Sally is not terribly fragrant but she is a beauty and always healthy and full of flowers. I wouldn’ t be without her, but my real favourites are the fragrant ones.

  20. pbmgarden says:

    Enjoyed your narrative as you took us along your roses, each one so lovely. I ordered Paeonia lactiflora ‘Duchesse de Nemours’ but was sent a different one last year and you helped me learn the difference. Seeing yours makes me want to try again. Melontha melontha has a bit of punk look, so fun to see. Thanks.

    • Chloris says:

      I remember that imposter Peony Susie. The real Duchess is worth seeking out for her creamy beauty . The May bug does look quite cute close up but I feel uncomfortable sitting on my son’ s jetty when they are all dive bombing us. Fortunately it is only for a short time in early Summer. I don’ t know where they disappear to.

  21. homeslip says:

    Oh, your roses are beautiful Chloris. You must have been in paradise wandering around your garden after a few days away. Hasn’t this been the most floriferous year for roses since … 2006 possibly? I had to cycle up to Polesden again yesterday afternoon (a hilly detour on my way to the allotment) to smell the roses, and their scent and that of the lavender hit me as soon as I walked through the gate. The gardens are looking fresh too as we had enough rain to re-fill the water butts over the weekend. I always enjoy learning a little about art history when I visit your garden. And in my garden two stars, Philadelphus Belle Etoile and Clematis Etoile Violette both opened the same day.

    • Chloris says:

      It must be lovely to live near enough to Polesden Lacey to pop in regularly. I would love to see their rose garden in bloom. Indeed it is a fantastic year for roses.
      I love Belle Etoile with its maroon centre. I bought a lovely new Philadelphus when I was in Hereford called ‘ Snowbelle’. Goodness knows where I am going to plant her. She has joined my ladies- in- waiting while I think about it.

  22. Flighty says:

    Nice post and wonderful pictures. I’m sure that their scent is every bit as lovely as they look so for most people give double pleasure. xx

  23. snowbird says:

    Imagine drowning in rose petals!!! Sruth, that shall haunt me for a long time to come!!! Melontha, melontha is amazing! I love the eyebrows too!!!
    Your roses are all beautiful, especially the David Austin ones, I can just imagine the scent while walking around your garden! Mine are coated with greenfly, there seems to be a shortage of ladybirds which is allowing them to breed unchecked! I found a little rose rolling down the street last year, I gave it some tlc and now it has the prettiest little roses on, I must have you ID it for me….it has a lovely scent too.
    I simply must acquire Grace……what a gem!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, who could resist a beetle with eye brows? Grace is a very elegant lady, I can recommend her, but then I love most roses, I just can’ t get enough of them.
      I hope you are having a lovely weekend away.

  24. Beautywhizz says:

    Feast for the eyes, could almost smell them! Beautiful.

  25. wellywoman says:

    What a brilliant post. 🙂 I don’t live too far away from the Herefordshire garden festival you went to but I couldn’t make it unfortunately. I’m hoping I can get there next year, as I haven’t been to it yet. I’m so envious of all your roses. I was chatting with a friend who is a garden photographer and we were both saying the roses have looked fab this year.

    That photo of a cockchafer did make me smile. I can kind of see what your son means. Although I didn’t think that one landed on my head about a month ago. I ran around the garden doing an odd dance trying to get whatever it was in my hair off me. When I saw it land on the floor I thought it was a cockroach at first. *shudders* That sounds like an intriguing book – flowers which smell of beetles, now why didn’t I think of that when I wrote my last book. 😉

    I love peonies but don’t have the space for any. Hopefully one day I will. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Thanks for joining in. x

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed the post. I can thoroughly recommend the Gardens in the Wild Festival if you can make it next year. We had a wonderful time with great talks and beautiful gardens.
      This does really seem to be the year of the rose.

  26. Caro says:

    I would have enjoyed that festival too – I met Derry Watkins last year at the Grow London show and thought she was amazing, so much passion for her plants. We don’t have many roses growing in the gardens but it’s the one flower that I always stop to smell. Such a disappointment when roses don’t have scent. I think another trip down to the Rose Garden in Regent’s Park might be on the cards for me after reading this!

    • Chloris says:

      You are right, there is no point to a rose without scent.
      I enjoyed Derry’ s enthusiasm for her plants. She brought some lovely plants to sell as well. I would love to visit her nursery.

  27. Anna says:

    Oh how divinely decadent to be smothered with rose petals Chloris. You have some gems in your garden. Do you know the identity of the one in the bottom left hand corner of your collage? Our paths may have crossed last weekend as we were all set to head to the ‘Gardening In The Wild’ festival but vehicle problems arose so we had to stay put 😦 It sounds as if you enjoyed it. We came across a May bug in Shropshire a couple of years ago. I never noticed its eyebrows or any scent at the time but if I encounter one again I will approach it in a different light.

    • Chloris says:

      What a shame that you didn’ t get to the Gardens in the Wild Festival, it was a wonderful weekend. I think the rose is the Queen of Denmark, but I am not certain because it was there when we arrived. It is a lovely fragrant rose with very healthy foliage.

  28. Wonderfull post, Chloris, and thank you so much for the mention!
    I agree, the roses are wonderful this year, even with me! Wish I had the space for your selection. I love “Evelyn” – wonderful perfume! I used to grow it but, unfortunately, lost it. I believe that it was the Rose chosen for Crabtree & Evelyn’s rose perfume, hence its name.
    I love so many of your other scented plants. I love the combination with the Crambe cordifolia – didn’t know it was scented!
    And those eyelashes!!

  29. Angie says:

    Your image of Summer Song may have just twisted my arm Chloris! As yet, roses very slow here in my garden, very few blooms but already I can see that R. Graham Thomas is very droopy and that’s before the buds open, that he might need replacing. Grace was previously top of the list of replacements should any not impress me. Decisions, decisions, decisions!
    Back to your garden, what a wide variety of roses you grow, you are lucky in having such a large space to accommodate such a selection. Your peony is of course spectacular and the
    Dianthus is very pretty. I had no idea that the Crambe cordifolia was scented either.

  30. Chloris says:

    I have difficulty accommodating all the roses that I would like to grow as much of my garden is too shady for them. I have plenty of space down in the orchard but the dreaded honey fungus lurks there. Summer Song is a beauty.

  31. Cathy says:

    Sheer aromatic bliss (and of course how wonderful to have experienced this in person!) – but on reflection I would rather not be smothered to a scented death under a deluge of rose petals… 😉

  32. Chloris says:

    No I agree you can have two much of a good thing. But wandering round the garden, sniffing all the roses on a warm June day is a very special pleasure.

  33. bittster says:

    Your May bug looks offended by your comments on his odor, but I’m glad you’re giving the poor viburnum a break. Granted beetle may smell slightly fresher than wet dog.
    I’d love to smell those roses. Were I to visit this time of year it would be an awkward struggle to get me out of the garden, but I think you’re safe for now. I’ll have to satisfy myself going about sniffing insects.

  34. Chloris says:

    Do it discreetly. You don’ t want to get caught beetle- sniffing. It looks odd.You don’ t want to get a reputation for being eccentric.

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