Wednesday, 26 November 2008




This time of the year there are soft scents wafting about in my garden, intensified by the heat of a day like today. The first time I notice them for the year I turn to where they are coming from and smile at the appropriate plant.....sometimes hiding its first flush of delicate flowers as if shy and feeling they may have been forgotten, amid the brash colours of other flowers in the garden. This is the philadelphus that I am talking about.....or evergreen mock orange, at left, hanging its small, white, beautifully scented flowers under its leaves, almost going unnoticed until there are enough of them to send their perfume down the path to the front door.



I also have the deciduous philadelphus, at right, with is stunningly beautiful, pristine white  flowers held upright in bunches, amid the dark green leaves, but having much less scent.



lemon blossomI was going to write that these are my favourite perfumed plants but I cannot! I think the philadelphus are amongst my favourites.....but there are also the scents of the flowers of various citrus trees that are so fresh and invigorating that maybe they would claim my first prize. Lemon blossom, at left, is number one in my citrus good it makes me close my eyes when I breathe it in....or maybe that is to avoid the bees who also love it!


dendrobium flowers But I also absolutely love the powerful but elusive scent of the dendrobium orchids, that only give off perfume from the flowers when the temperature is over 18C, in August or early September.....just an hour or 2 here and there....I keep them inside then so I don't miss the moment.

Honeysuckle takes the prize for the first of the spring perfumes to come to my garden and probably for the one that lasts the longest too. We have a honeysuckle hedge which is a delight to brush past on the way to the clothes line. I know roses are wonderful too and I enjoy them in other people's gardens but I don't have them here. Somehow I have never got on well with roses, nor they with me.

Down by the pool we have a dry climate garden bed...with plants with silver foliage and things that need very little water or care. Today, in the hot sunshine, I noticed the curry bushes were giving off their pungent savoury aroma......quite unusual for a plant but a smell of summer, to me. The aroma comes from the leaves and there are other plants that have scented leaves too, the most obvious being herbs.....rosemary, mints, lemon verbena, oregano, thyme etc. Then there are the scented geraniums.... lemon, cinnamon,etc and sages like pineapple and chocolate. There is nothing more delightful that brushing past the pineapple sage that Barb gave me, on a hot summer's day and almost tasting pineapple, ever so briefly....then it is gone.....and you wonder if you imagined it.....



Another of my favourites is the Flinders Ranges wattle that flowers for many months, beginning in autumn and going on through winter, but it only has a scent on sunny days, it seems to me. It is the smell of the Australian bush... at least, it is of the bush where I used to holiday. I cannot conjure up its smell.....unlike the citrus or other sweet every year I relish the days when I can visit my best specimen in flower, on the way to the letter box.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,
I really enjoyed this post.
Its wonderful to have a combination of such varied plant life and yours is particularly varied!
I have been taking small bunches of flowers from my garden to mum in the Nursing Home.
Lavenders,carnations sweetpeas and roses,they offer a welcome addition to the somewhat clinical surrounds she now finds herself in
as they are indeed a feast for the senses!
Where would we be without plants, they offer so much and ask so little in return!

Matron said...

I love the Mimosa (wattle) flowers when I see them here - one of my favourite. Very occasionally over here can I find wattle seed sauces for ice cream!!! heavenly.

chaiselongue said...

A lovely scented post! I'm looking forward to the mimosa (wattle) flowering here as it's the first sign of spring, at end of January or beginning of February. Aren't lemon flowers amazing? - our lemon tree is flowering here in the northern hemisphere at the same time as yours in the southern hemisphere!