The coolest part of the day must surely be the evening and to sit in a garden where the fragrances of the flowers flow around one really makes all the effort of gardening feel worth while.
When considering which flowers are the ones we think of most, probably Roses come to mind.
Not all Roses have any perfume but are still a beautiful bloom. There are so many hybrid varieties that it seems the fragrance is the first thing to be lost. All is not doom and gloom, just one highly scented rose bush can enhance the whole flower bed and that is what we are thinking of today. Many Roses are in flower again at the moment, keep ‘dead heading’, not only to keep the plant tidy but to encourage it to come into flower yet again well into the winter months and the time to prune them back. A garden wouldn’t be a real garden if it didn’t have a few Rose bushes.
There are other fragrances that creep into the garden later on in the day and into the evening where the whole of the garden is permeated with the smell of flowers and not always from your own garden. This is one of the lovely things about gardening, without even meaning to, one is sharing the garden with all the neighbours. One such will surely be Oleander. Some varieties have lovely fragrances that just fill the air, never really intrusive but just a small part of the Mediterranean evening. Oleander must surely be one of the easiest shrubs to propagate simply from a cutting either assisted by encouraging rooting in water or until you see the roots or even just popping a cutting directly where you want it in the garden and hope it takes. I have written about the Oleander before because of their colours and ease to cultivate but do remember that every part of the Oleander is poisonous.
Four o’clock Jack (Merabilis Jelapa) must surely be a good standby for any garden. I can’t really make my mind up if it is wild or a cultivated flowering plant. It can be found all over the place just where its seed has fallen, not necessarily way out in the countryside but along pavements and outside gardens as well as in the garden. The deep pink is probably the most common colour but there are yellows and whites and where these three colours are all growing together it makes for quite a splash of colour but as its popular name indicates, it doesn’t open its flowers until after 4 o’clock in the afternoon and then well into the evening its fragrance is noticable. It has a sturdy root when established making it a perennial that comes up year after year but its large black seed after flowering will germinate just where it falls, making these clumps of flowers into as big a flowering area as you want. I have had a pink one for almost as long as I have had a garden but only recently added the other colours and find more and more new seedlings every season. The fragrance is not so invasive but it is always just there when you pass by the clump of flowers.
Daturas or Angels Trumpets amongst many other names is another of those flowering shrubs whose fragrance seems to be enhanced during the evening. It can almost out-grow itself with the yards long spurs so best cut well back to encourage more bushy growth. Here we have another very poisonous plant, every part of it.
And to finish off with a couple of really simple shrubs that every garden should have and when brushed up against have outstanding fragrances: Lavender and Rosemary.
Easy to grow from cuttings, evergreen and both have their own typical flowers.
Lavender of course must be considered the most ‘old fashioned’ of all shrubs, every grandmother has a Lavender bag in her wardrobe. It’s supposed to help keep moths out of your clothes.
Rosemary we think of more when making a roast leg of lamb but still both of these shrubs add fragrances to our gardens.