It starts in March, February if you are lucky. You are walking along the edge of woods in a bare and frosty landscape and suddenly… WHAM. A sweet floral perfume awakens your olfactory senses for the first time this year and the only flower in sight is a clump of Hepaticas. Hepaticas don’t smell of anything though, do they? You stick your nose in one and inhale. Nothing. But moments later another waft. It is magical and transitory.
Next the violets. I love them and hate them because I may smell the first one for a brief moment and then cannot detect a hint of the sweet violet perfume again. Apparently a trick our noses play on some of us. I envy people who swoon at the perfume they emit on a warm spring day.
Later, a bluebell wood in England. Then the lilacs in a friend‘s garden. The plum blossom on a neighbourhood tree.
And then the highlight of my spring, telling me summer has arrived and reminding me of the cordial, sorbet and pancakes I will be making – the elderflowers. The first hint of them in May crescendoes into a heady and intoxicating scent. I have never had elderflower champagne, but can imagine the taste. There are a lot of elder trees near us and their fragrance dominates for several weeks as plants in shadier spots open their flowers more slowly and later, lasting long into June. It sweetens on a warm day and in a very hot spell in early June it becomes almost overpowering. Mix that with the peonies and you are in heaven!
Oh yes, the peonies are nice too…
Another June delight: walking in the countryside on a warm day there is an occasional waft of a sweet scent similar to wild strawberries. It makes me look up and around and look again, really hard, at the wild flowers at the side of the footpath… Bedstraw? (Galium alba). Such an insignificant plant until it flowers. Like the Hepatica, if you go up to it and sniff, you probably won‘t smell a thing. Maybe you have to sneak up to it from behind to catch it!
I can enjoy the scent of roses, and like sweet peas too. But my favourite scent in spring or early summer has to be the elderflower.
What is your favourite scent on a spring or early summer day? Could you choose just one? 😉
Monday has come round again and I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with a vase. I must confess this was actually put together on Saturday, as I discovered the cornflowers on the edge of a corn field while walking our dog. I couldn‘t pass up the opportunity of having enough cornflowers for use in my cornflower teapot!
There is nothing quite like these beautiful blue flowers. And they really are blue. (Centaurea cyanus)
I realise I recently posted a similar vase of wildflowers, but I love them so much and this time there are a few new additions. Pink Campions (Silene dioca) for example…
Then the Scabiosa are flowering. They are usually pink in the wild – I‘d love a pink one in the garden but only seem able to find blue ones. Another one to put on my ‘Grow from seed’ list!
I also found some delicate pink Dianthus (Dianthus deltoides) but only picked one on our own land as they are rare. Then there are Harebells (Campanula patula), a Moon Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), some white Achillea, the fragrant Bedstraw (Galium mollugo, I think) and a slightly pink flower which I mistook for cow parsley (on the left in the next picture, slightly blurred!) There are so many similar flowers it is hard to identify it, but I will take a better look at it next time I see some.
I wonder what is growing wild near your gardens this June.
Last week my vase featured soft silvers and blues, so this week I decided to bring some bolder colours indoors. The flowers used are mainly from the sunshine bed. The starting point however was some Golden Rod growing just outside our garden fence… a sure sign that summer is slowly coming to an end.
Various sunflowers add some more yellow and gold tones, while the Tithonia, Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Glow’ (gorgeous isn’t it?) and Echinacea ‘Flame Thrower’ provide some orange.
A couple of Zinnias add a hint of red – the seed packets said they would be pink and white, but I am so glad they turned out this colour!
The grasses are Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and a wild grass which looks like the original grass Mr Foerster got his inspiration from. In fact it was seeing these grasses growing in the wild that ignited my growing passion for using grasses within my own garden. I added another splash of gold from some Euphorbia and a sprig of fennel, Patrinia scabiosifolia and Hypericum from the herb bed.
(Click on any picture for a slide show)
I hope these colours have made your Monday a bit sunnier. 🙂