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Broken glass and scented borders

This week has been a bit of a mixed bag. Yesterday I was in the conservatory that I use as a greenhouse and somehow managed to send myself through its glass door when I was a bit over zealous trying to shut it! After establishing I seemed to have survived this unscathed I realised my poor plants were in for a battering, as our latest gale was now blowing straight through the large hole I had created! Thanks to my very nice husband and father in law (who have spent the whole of their Saturday putting a new glass pane in the door) everything is now back to normal, and my plants will not be getting blown away!


This week was also back to snowy blizzards which put a stop to any outside gardening getting done. Whilst this is getting frustrating I was luckily able to indulge in my other love in life – baking and cake decorating. I might not have been growing any flowers this week but at least I could make sugar paste ones!


Also this week I have been continuing my research into scented shrubs. When you move into a new home in winter you await all the surprises that come up in a garden as the months go on. When we moved house two years ago I remember that first summer smelling the philadelphus mock orange growing at the top of the rockery steps. Ever since I discovered it I have been hooked on fragrant plants. Disappointingly I watched what else came up in the garden and this was one of the only scented shrubs I was to find.

I spent much of last year digging new beds for my cut flowers and the borders largely fended for themselves. This year I want to spend some time developing them and filing them with scented shrubs. When you come to buy flowers from the garden I would love it to be an experience that is enjoyable and memorable. I want the garden to be full of shrubs that smell amazing and make you want to linger for longer. On a personal level I also would love to be able to sit out in the garden on a summer evening, kids in bed, glass of wine and good book enjoying the garden and all its scent.

So my job this winter was to find out which kind of scented shrubs to put in the garden borders.


I had no idea there was such a choice! I think I am finally starting to narrow it down and here are a few of my ideas.

Philadelphus mock orange is a favourite of mine so I have been looking to see what other varieties of this there are to add into other parts of the garden. I like frosty morn and snowbelle which are both quite compact in size and have fragrant white flowers in early summer. I also like  the virginal variety with its double flowers but this is a lot larger in size and I will need to think carefully if there is a space for it in the garden.

I have a syringa vulgaris already in the garden but I am tempted to buy another as it has beautiful panicles of fragrant double flowers early on in the summer.

Some smaller evergreen shrubs that I am thinking about planting are Myrtus communis, otherwise known as myrtle, rhaphiolepsis or indian hawthorn and prostanthera cuneata or the alpine mint bush. Myrtle and the alpine mint bush have white flowers and aromatic leaves. Myrtle also has berries in the autumn. The indian hawthorn has pink flowers with a light fragrance and it and the alpine mint bush will need some protection in the winter.

Convallaria majalis lily of the valley are short with a height up to about 25cm. Their fragrant white flowers would provide great ground cover and eventually would spread providing a carpet of fragrant blooms under other shrubs.

Which choisya to choose is another difficulty. I like them all! Aztec pearl, ternata and white dazzler are full of fragrant white flowers.  Aztec pearl is more compact than ternata which may help with my decision making later!

The shrub daphne transatlantica eternal fragrance appeals as it is so long flowering with its scented flowers that keep coming from spring through to autumn. The grand bleu variety of caryopteris with its aromatic foliage is also longer flowering than other varieties. These two shrubs are compact so finding a spot in the borders for them should be easy.

In the late summer to autumn, shrubs such as clethra delavayii the sweet pepper bush have fragrant flowers. This is a deciduous shrub that likes some partial shade in a border which will suit some sections of my garden.

For winter colour and fragrance I have been looking at sarcococca confusa and hookeriana with their white fragrant flowers from December through to March. I also like viburnum bodnantense dawn with its dark pink flowers on bare stems over winter. Viburnum carlesii with its red buds turning into pink flowers appeals too but it does not flower until spring. Like other shrubs I am looking at I will probably have to make a choice between varieties, as I can’t get carried away and buy them all!

For the front of some of the borders lavender will look good with its compact size and fragrant stems from mid to late summer. I like munstead blue with its purple flowers and little lady with its light blue flowers.

A space has come up against a south facing wall on the house where an old clematis used to grow. I am thinking about jasminum officinale ‘clotted cream’ for this spot, but it does need winter protection and I am unsure if it will survive a Scottish winter. I think its worth a try though with its larger cream flowers with reputedly more fragrance than other varieties.

These are just a few of the fragrant shrubs that I have come across and liked, that I have been thinking of for my garden this year. I would love to know your thoughts on what I have chosen and what your favourite fragrant shrub would be?

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