Six scents

Berkshire Life - - Front Page -

Naomi Slade helps you plan a sen­sa­tional gar­den


One of the best and the old­est daf­fodils is Narcissus poeticus, some­times known as the poet’s narcissus or pheas­ants eye. It has been cul­ti­vated since an­cient times and is an el­e­gant gar­den plant. The pure white petals are swept back­wards from a neat yel­low trum­pet, rimmed with red. It does well in con­tain­ers but also nat­u­ralises pret­tily in wild ar­eas and grass. Plant as soon as pos­si­ble, 10-15cm deep in sun or part-shade for flow­ers in mid- to late-spring.


It’s the sea­son for bare-root roses so why not in­dulge? There is a list of su­per-scented va­ri­eties at www.davi­daustin­ But my favourites in­clude pale blush climber ‘Gen­er­ous Gar­dener’; peachy Lady of Shal­lot; un­ruly but fab­u­lously fra­grant ‘Madame Al­fred Carriere’ – with hon­ourable men­tions for ‘James Austin’, ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ and ‘Bosco­bel’! Plant in well-drained soil en­riched with or­ganic mat­ter; a sprin­kle of my­c­or­rhizal fungi can be ben­e­fi­cial. Spread the roots out, back­fill and keep well-wa­tered.


I love orange blos­som. The scent is re­li­able and glo­ri­ous and I plant it in ev­ery gar­den I make.

One the best, and most fra­grant, is ‘Belle Etoile’. Grow­ing to around 1.5m. A great back-of-the bor­der shrub, it goes well with roses and cot­tage gar­den perennials. Plant now and keep well-wa­tered in its first sea­son. Cut a third of the branches back hard, in late spring af­ter flow­er­ing.


Make room in your gar­den for win­ter­sweet and you won’t re­gret it. The flow­ers may be small and unas­sum­ing, but the fra­grance is mag­nif­i­cent. Plant the bushy shrub near door­ways so that the scent can be ap­pre­ci­ated in the depths of win­ter (per­haps train­ing a clema­tis through it for sum­mer in­ter­est) or cut the stems for the house.

Au­tumn is a great time for plan­ning ahead. Here Naomi Slade brings you her top picks for fab­u­lous fra­grance


In some pe­onies scent is a se­cret su­per­power – not all are fra­grant but a sur­pris­ing num­ber will scent a room with ease.

With fizzy-pink dou­ble flow­ers, ‘Doc­tor Alexan­der Flem­ing’ grows to 90cm and is one of the very best for scent.

Other good va­ri­eties in­clude ‘Krin­kled White’, ‘Clare de Lune’ and ‘Sarah Bern­hardt’. If you al­ready have pe­onies, now is a good time to di­vide them, lift­ing the crown and us­ing a sharp knife to cre­ate sec­tions, each with at least three buds and sev­eral plump roots. And con­trary to ru­mour they can be moved – just re­plant with the crown at the same level or slightly higher than it orig­i­nally was!

Plant in a sunny spot in fer­tile, well-drained soil. Feed in spring with a bal­anced fer­tiliser.


Trained up a per­gola or into a tree, honey­suckle cre­ates a won­der­ful coun­try gar­den feel.

A good hy­brid cul­ti­var is Lon­icera x heck­rotii ‘Gold Flame’, but best for scent is our na­tive com­mon honey­suckle, L. per­icly­menum - try yel­lowflow­ered ‘Heaven Scent’, or early flow­er­ing ‘Bel­gica’ or ‘Serotina’. Honeysuckles are fast-grow­ing climbers that pre­fer moist, hu­mus-rich soil and a spot in sun or part shade. If plants be­come ram­pant, cut back a third of the flow­er­ing

shoots af­ter bloom­ing. Ap­ply or­ganic mulch in spring.


Ear­lier this year I came across a rather neat idea for ad­ding ex­tra in­ter­est into a gar­den by plant­ing hedges which were not just your stan­dard low main­te­nance screen, but con­tained other de­sir­able at­tributes too.

Chat­ting to the nice chaps at Hope’s Grove Nurs­eries (over a cheeky sloe gin pro­duced from their own hedges) they told me that they have put to­gether col­lec­tions that ap­peal to taste or grow­ing con­di­tions. So you can choose hedges for chalky soil, wet sites or shade, or al­ter­na­tively for ber­ries, au­tumn colour or ed­i­ble fruits.

They do mail or­der and the plants are rea­son­ably priced, so I re­quested a box of plants cho­sen for scent, in­clud­ing Sar­co­cocca, Vibur­num bod­nan­tense, Laven­der, Os­man­thus and roses, all of which ar­rived in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion and good to go. Def­i­nitely worth con­sid­er­ing if you are stumped for a site-spe­cific hedge so­lu­tion!

See choos­ing the right hedge sec­tion at www. hopes­grovenurs­


Hedge­hogs are good friends to we gar­den­ers so we owe it to them to en­sure a safe and snug­gly win­ter sleep!

In au­tumn they build nests called hi­ber­nac­ula in piles of brush, com­post, logs or hedge­hog houses (if we are lucky) with the aim of in­su­lat­ing them­selves from cold and wet. So a smidgen of un­tidi­ness is ben­e­fi­cial. Leav­ing leaves, straw and long grass will both pro­vide build­ing ma­te­ri­als and en­cour­age the in­sects upon which they feed.

In gen­eral, move fire­wood and brush be­fore burn­ing and take care when us­ing a strim­mer and other power tools and make sure they can climb out of ponds. If you see a hedge­hog and want to help it build up its re­serves, they will eat cat food and ap­pre­ci­ate a bowl of fresh wa­ter.

Once they are sleep­ing take care not to dis­turb them as this will use up valu­able en­ergy.

“Chat­ting to the nice chaps at Hope’s Grove Nurs­eries over a cheeky sloe gin pro­duced from their own hedges”

Naomi find­ing the fra­gances in her gar­den

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Dr. Alexan­der Flem­ing’, dis­cover the ‘se­cret su­per power’

ABOVE:Narcissus poeticus will be an el­e­gant and wel­come ar­rival in spring

Cre­ate a coun­try gar­den feel with fast-grow­ing honey­suckle

ABOVE: Orange os­man­thus pro­vides colour and fra­gance

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