It is odd that with so much colour in the garden and the pollinators working overtime, there is not a great deal of fragrance. Winter and spring flowers seem to rely on fragrance to attract any bee in the vicinity, but now bright colour does the trick.
In a sunny position against a wall, the Jersey Lily, Amaryllis belladonna produces its fragrant, trumpet- shaped flowers on long naked stems, earning it the common name of naked lady. It does need a sunny summer like the one we have enjoyed this year to produce its blooms.
Now, once and for all, let’s be clear that the bright coloured flowers we enjoy in pots in winter are Hippeastrum not Amaryllis.
Hippeastrums come from South America and Amaryllis comes from South Africa where it grows in stony ground. The flowers have a delicious scent rather reminiscent of bubble gum, but much nicer.
The other common name for it is Jersey lily, although it is not a lily at all. The great Pre-raphaelite artist, John Everett Millais painted the portrait of Lily Langtree who was a celebrated beauty and actress. As she came from Jersey he wanted to depict her as a Jersey Lily. Unfortunately, Amaryllis belladonna was not available in the flower markets whilst he was painting so he gave her a Nerine to hold instead.
Amaryllis are quite promiscuous and have been crossed with other genera to produce some lovely plants. For instance, Crinum moorei has similar blooms and it has been crossed with Amaryllis to produce Amarcrinum. This prompted me to go out and sniff my Crinums and indeed they are fragrant too. I had never noticed before.
I think I might try a little hand pollination to see what I can get. Amaryllis has also been crossed with Nerine sarniensis to create Amarine, but my Nerines are not in bloom yet so I can’t try that one.
Many people remove their Hosta flowers because they feel the gawky appearance spoils the look of the plant. There is one Hosta though which I grow just for its lovely scented blooms although it has beautiful foliage too.
If you like the idea of scented Hosta flowers there are over 58 available now; they are all descended from Hosta plantaginea which was formerly the only scented Hosta available. My lovely ‘Guacamole’ was a sport of”Fragrant Bouquet’. There is now a sport of ‘Guacomole’ available called ‘Ambrosia’, I have my eye on that one too. You don’t have to sacrifice beautiful leaves to enjoy these scented flowers.
Many roses are flowering again and I particularly enjoy the darling buds and flowers of Rosa ‘Perle d’Or. It produces so many sweetly scented flowers. I would love to wear this as a buttonhole so I could sniff it all day.
Sue at Backlane Notebook blog has chosen a shrub with a beautiful fragrance for her Scent in the Garden post this month. It is the lovely Crinodendron trichotomum. I love this shrub too. In fact in time it grows into a tree. It is the most fragrant plant in the garden at the moment.
Earlier this year I bought a lovely variegated form called Crinodendron trichotomum ‘Carnival’. It is still very small and so there are no flowers to show you.
I saw a mature plant the other day and this is what it looks like. I can’t wait for mine to grow to this size.
In winter and spring we all enjoy the wonderful lily-of-the -valley fragrance of our mahonias. I have a lovely summer flowering one. It does not have the powerful fragrance that we expect from a Mahonia but I think it is very pretty with its orange buds.
My Gouty Pelargonium: Pelargonium gibbosum which I showed you the other day is till going strong and I have now brought it into the house to enjoy its delicious evening scent.
Louise at Wellywoman and Sue at Backlane Notebook had this great idea for a Scent in the Garden meme. Ali at The longgardenpath is very keen on scent in the garden too and always joins in. I am going over to see what her fragrant flowers are this month.