I love fragrant flowers
I have fitted as many scented plants as I can in to my small Sussex garden.
Roses and honeysuckle bloom in the front garden
Out the front, our garden is a bit overgrown, but I love the combination of this pink honeysuckle with the rose Constance Spry. The rose only flowers for a short time, but the blooms are so big and blousy, with a great old-fashioned fruity fragrance, that I forgive it. The honeysuckle looks good but not so much on the fragrance unfortunately – more on honeysuckle later.
Scented roses out the back
Most of our garden is out back, where I have a large bed of Rosa Mundi which flowers for weeks at a time around June – these below have been picked ready to make into potpourri.
Paul’s Himalayan Musk is a climbing rose we’re growing through a pittosporum. My husband and I are aware they grow big – the pittosporum is already twenty feet high so the rose has plenty of space to scramble! The only problem is being able to reach the blooms to cut them.
Natural heavenly perfumes
Good old-fashioned white jasmine flowers are a mainstay. Like the honeysuckle, they’re available in pinks, reds and variegated types, but the generic white one is the best for fragrance in my opinion.
Lemon balm is so soothing and happy. I squeeze a leaf every time I pass by and often use the young leaves to make tea.
Philadelphus, mock orange, a fabulous fragrance. This one is Belle Etoile with a hint of pink at the centre of every flower.
Here is my headily scented honeysuckle, climbing through some other plants, with a glimpse of our cottages in the background. A common old fashioned white and yellow variety but surely the best.
Grapes were a surprise for me this year. I could smell something beautiful in the garden and sniffed around until I realised it was this grape vine. Quite a sophisticated white fragrance with a hint of honey. The individual flowers are tiny.
Scented cut flowers
Indoors I’m a sucker for a scented bouquet, and pinks and stocks have a powerful fragrance, often picked up at my local supermarket. I also love oriental lilies and often buy them for an exotic treat once the garden is past its best. I adore freesias but am often disappointed by their expense and vase life. The green scent of foliage can be enlivening in its own right too – chrysanthemum leaves for example have whatever it is that makes florist shops smell so special!
Drying these blooms
It would be lovely to preserve everything that blossoms in my garden – and I have tried most things!
I’ve found that white flowers tend to be a little hit and miss when it comes to drying, as they brown easily. For example, dried jasmine flowers can be bought commercially for tea making, but they are often beige in colour, and the scent, although still present, has receded to some extent. The same goes for honeysuckle in my experience.
Mock orange preserves reasonably well, although it bruises easily, and retains some fragrance, so makes a decorative addition to potpourri.
The peonies which can be seen behind the tray of Rosa Mundi in one of the photos above, despite being white, dry to a delicate pale pink, and I have used the flowers and petals for confetti and potpourri.