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A NOSE FOR A ROSE

Chandos Beauty

Most of us can identify familiar scents in the garden – newly mown grass, fragrant roses and lavender spring to mind.

In fact, women have a significantly better sense of smell than men, according to a survey by Gardeners’ World magazine.

The survey of 2,000 people found that women were able to recognise 14 out of 15 garden scents better than men, including rose, lilac, freshly cut grass and compost.

Freesias came out tops as our favourite scent followed by strawberries and sweet peas. Creosote was the only smell men recognised as much as women.

So it seems timely to create a scented garden to educate not only our men but to provide endless days and nights of aromatic summer pleasure outdoors.

Indeed many plants grown for their scent come into their own at dusk, including night-scented stocks, honeysuckle, jasmine and nicotiana. Plant them close to where you will be sitting in the evening and you won’t miss their delicious scent.

Others, such as lavender, thyme and rosemary, release their scent when you make contact with them, so are ideal for edging paths, so that visitors can appreciate their heady aroma when they brush past them.

Sheltered spots devoid of wind, which can effectively blow the scent away, will provide an area of intense fragrance. If you have a bench in a sheltered spot, try growing roses up around it so you can catch that intensity when you sit.

It is possible to combine natural fragrances for the best results and the magazine has created a scent wheel, similar to a colour wheel, to match scented plants to bring out the best in each other.

Sweet scents which do well together include cottage garden favourites such as sweet pea, lilac, honeysuckle and rose, while a combination of citrus scents including lemon verbena, monarda and lime also work well together.

If you like woody notes with sweet scents, go for lavender, sage and thyme, while more spicy notes are gained from dianthus, azalea and bay.

If you’re after scent when you open your patio doors, keep your containers and hanging baskets close by with your fragrant favourites.

I have a basket outside my patio door in the summer filled with the petunia Surfinia Blue Vein, whose flowers have a deep blue throat which pales into the white outer petal. The smell of this type is fantastic – almost like a lily fragrance.

Indeed, no scented garden would be complete without some sort of lily and one of the easiest to grow is the regal lily, Lilium regale. One bulb quickly builds up into a clump on most soils, producing a profusion of white, trumpet-shaped blooms with yellow throats and purple pink outsides, whose strong heady perfume is at its best on summer evenings.

“Sniff a lily and you’ll feel a sense of wellbeing that Chanel can never match,” Alan Titchmarsh comments. They’re perfect planted with roses, ornamental grasses and euphorbia.

If you have an archway or pergola near your patio, you can choose from a wide variety of scented climbers including scented honeysuckles, wisterias, roses and jasmine.

Trachelospermum jasminoides is a fantastic slow-growing climber which will reach around 10m (32ft) in height if placed in a sheltered position against a warm wall. It produces small white flowers against dark green oval-shaped leaves and its fragrance is fantastic. But you need to protect it against wind and frost in severe winters.

It is not only flowers which produce wonderful scents during summer – rub some leaves of certain plants and you will be pleasantly surprised. The lemon-scented pelargonium (P. crispum ‘Variegatum’), for instance, has cream-edged leaves which, if rubbed, emit a delicious lemon perfume. It produces pale mauve flowers throughout summer.

With a little planning, you could soon have a garden full of fragrance which will last all summer.

See the HIGHLY PERFUMED ROSES list on our web site.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk


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