Tuesday, 6 May 2014


This is a smelly blog - a diatribe on odour, in praise of pong. And where better to start than with lilies.

These are lilium regale, the queen of lilies, possessing a scent from heaven to soak your olfactory nerves like a luxurious hot bath.

Every year I plant up a tub of them, good compost, a little bit of grit for the bulb to sit in so it keeps it bottom plate dry and avoid rot. If there is any danger of wind they will need some sort of support either individually or three sticks and a ring of string. Once flowering is over dead head them and feed well. Do not let them dry out at this stage. They do tend to gradually weaken as time passes and when this happens plant them out in the garden, reasonably deep and in good soil.

Thus, every year, I am surprised when lilies pop up  in unusual places - only unusual as I have forgotten I put them there.

Near the porch we have a Philadelphus belle etoile and passing it means traversing a lovely waft. After a few years, when flowering is finished you can cut back the old wood and prune a bit to improve the structure.

The winter flowering sarcococcus and shrubby honeysuckle get the same treatment but in the spring.

Another scented shrub R loves is buddleia. Butterflies are partial to this too. We have a lot in the garden and they get pruned hard back at the end of February. The new growth then carries the flowers. Dead heading as they go over prolongs the season.

This row of young plants hides the septic tank which is in the middle of the garden at the lawn edge. Of course in the early part of the year after cutting back the green plastic eyesore is visible but it soon disappears.

Another plant treated similarly to the buddleia is this elder. The cut-leaved variety on the banking is hacked down in early spring and will put on eight feet of growth. The flowers have a strange scent and either you like it or you do not. It is not a favourite of mine.

The tree lupin to the right surprised me with its scent - I had not expected it. Unfortunately these are not long-lived plants and our one died in the winter gone.

The list is endless - I have not mentioned sweet peas, roses, paper-white narcissi, azaleas etc etc.

It is an essential part of a garden to assail the wanderer not just with colour and form but with scent - preferably not from the septic tank.

The best way to end this blog is with another burst of lilies so here you are -

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