Keep the ro­mance alive

Last be­yond Fe­bru­ary 14

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Hobson’s Choice -

Valen­tine’s Day will come and go, but you can cre­ate a lover’s par­adise in your out­door space, in­cor­po­rat­ing all the senses of touch, smell, sight, taste and sound.

Whether it’s a wood­land garden or flow­ing fields or a rus­tic cot­tage garden burst­ing with fra­grant blooms, de­li­ciously scented roses and clema­tis grow­ing around an ar­bour, or waves of pur­ple wis­te­ria blooms­drapin­gover the walls of a house, all gar­den­ers can have their share of ro­mance.

Even on the small­est plot, you can cre­ate a touch of ro­mance with old- fash­ioned plants, wind­ing walk­ways, rus­tic arches, wil­low trel­lises and soft climb­ing blooms.

Choose your plants care­fully and­placethes­cent­ed­va­ri­eties where their de­li­cious fra­grance will come into its own, neartothe­house­or­bor­der­ing a well- used walk­way.

Climbers in­clud­ing the fra­grant hon­ey­suckle or re­peat- flow­er­ing roses, such as the sil­very pink hy­brid musk ‘ Feli­cia’ or ‘ Old Blush China’, can fill an area with sweet scent.

In­for­mal plant­ing cre­ates a soft pal­ette, with dainty plants such as vi­o­las or bellflow­ered cam­pan­u­las min­gling in front of taller spec­i­mens such as del­phini­ums, lupins andthe­many­won­der­ful va­ri­eties of clema­tis. Irises, peonies and gen­tle wild­meadow flow­ers can also be in­cor­po­rated.

Groupy­our­plants to­geth­erins­malldrifts, andyou’llbe re­warded with a lovely, in­for­mal dis­play of scent and colour all sum­mer long.

I thinka­soft­colour­palette ofwhites, sof­tand­deep­pinks, blues, mauves and pur­ples is ideal for thero­man­tic­gar­den.

Keep the de­sign low- key, with soft edges and curved lines. Make sure the em­pha­sis is on the plants them­selves, although you can cre­ate a fo­cal point from a statue or tall obelisk or wig­wam adorned with sweet peas or clema­tis and climb­ing roses.

One arch in my own garden is planted with Clema­tis ‘ Nelly Moser’, alarge pinkand white- striped va­ri­ety, and Rosa ‘ Gertrude Jekyll’, which formaper­fect­com­bi­na­tionof soft colour and scent.

Laven­der and nepeta ( cat­mint) can fringe bor­ders, spilling out into wind­ing paths around the garden, while fra­grant herbs such as thyme can be­plante­dinthe­cracksin­path­ways to soften the ef­fect.

But­try­to­keep­heav­ilyscented plants which are planted in abun­dance sep­a­rate so they don’t dom­i­nate the group.

Amongmy­favouriteshrubs which are easy to in­clude in a ro­man­tic­gar­denis­thep­hiladel­phus( mock­o­r­ange), which­pro­duces masses of white flow­ers in early sum­mer whose scent can fill the whole garden and be­yond.

If you have room, make a se­cret place in the garden which you can’t see from the house, such as a hid­den arch­way over a bench, where you can sit dur­ing those sum­mer evenings for peace and so­lace.

When­plan­ningy­our­ro­man­tic garden, make sure you take note of where the sun rises and sets, so that you cre­ate your seat­ing area to en­joy the sun as it goes down at the end of the day, or when you are likely to use that area most.

If you have room for a bed of an­nu­als, go again for soft, fra­grant plants such as nights­cented stock and nico­tiana, along­withother­cot­tage­gar­den favourites such as aqui­le­gia.

In the evening, can­dle light comes into its own to cre­ate a ro­man­tic­set­ting, so place some close to the plants you want to high­light and in­clude somecitronel­la­can­dles to­keep­mosquitoes at bay.

Long af­ter Valen­tine’s Day, you’ll have the per­fect set­ting for ro­mance in your garden.

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