Naomi Slade helps you plan a sensational garden
NARCISSUS POETICUS VAR. RECURVUS
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.
DAVID AUSTIN ROSES
It’s the season for bare-root roses so why not indulge? There is a list of super-scented varieties at www.davidaustinroses.co.uk. 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.
PHILADELPHUS ‘BELLE ETOILE’ AGM
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
PAEONIA LACTIFLORA ‘DOCTOR ALEXANDER FLEMING’
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. hopesgrovenurseries.co.uk
OUR LITTLE HELPERS
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