greentapestry : The Scented Garden ~ 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Scented Garden ~ 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'



"I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight"


- from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' by William Shakespeare.


The first of my scented plants this month is a rosa rubiginosa also known as sweet brier. When Shakespeare was writing it was known as eglantine. It's a wild rose bearing soft pink single flowers which are lightly scented but it's the foliage which is the more fragrant. If your grow this and should venture out on a warm wet summer evening your nostrils are likely to be assailed by the aroma of stewed apples floating through the air. The scent can also be detected on drier days by rubbing the slightly sticky leaves between the fingers. The arching branches can grow up to eight foot or so in height and it's a prickly customer. In the autumn and into early winter it's decorated with rose-red hips.


I think that I must have bought this plant at a NGS open garden. I've never seen it for sale at a garden centre. It self-seeds gently and I'm always happy to share the seeds. I've got this plant growing both in the garden where it has unfortunately become rather straggly. My fault entirely for not being a more ruthless pruner. I've also got a more robust specimen at the allotment which started life as a seedling in the garden. My next door plot neighbour liked it so much that she asked for a seedling which is now thriving and is in flower over on her plot.




My second plant is honeysuckle or lonicera which Shakespeare refers to as woodbine. The plant you can see above just appeared growing at the edge of the garden as well as in a second spot nestled in amongst a beech hedge. It is a climbing rather than a shrubby honeysuckle and although not certain of its identity I think is our native honeysuckle lonicera periclymenum. Although I've not tried I believe it is easily propagated by taking cuttings in early summer or by layering in spring or summer. The flowers are appreciated by both moths and bees. The scent takes me back to the garden of my childhood when a honeysuckle was planted in close proximity to my bedroom window. If I close my eyes I can smell the scent and hear my parent's voices as they worked in the garden on long summer evenings when we were tucked in bed. I must ask my sister if she can remember. 


There is also a honeysuckle on my allotment plot which I inherited. Its a shrubby one but I do not have a photograph of it but like those in the garden it seems to be resplendent with flowers this year. It seems to be a particularly good year for honeysuckles. Has anybody else noticed this? 


It's hardly surprising that Titania, the Queen Of The Fairies nodded off in such a delightful spot. I will be visiting 'Wellywoman' later to see what other June flowers might lull my senses and help me dream sweet dreams. Thanks to the lovely Louise for hosting. 

18 comments:

  1. I don't think there's anything quite so pretty as a single rose. I've got a honeysuckle which was in the garden when we moved here nearly twenty two years ago. It's never done very much and I have to admit that I've never given it much attention but it's flowering away this year, more than I've ever noticed before so I too think it must be a good year for them.

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    1. Single roses are not as showy as their double counterparts Jo but as you say they are indeed pretty. Glad to hear that your honeysuckle is also thriving this year.

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  2. Could that honeysuckle be Halliana?

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    1. Sue thanks for your suggestion which I will investigate. As I said in my post it arrived without a label so it's been guess work on my part :)

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  3. Absolutely gorgeous, I can smell those blooms from here, divine! I have a briar rose coming along nicely too, some sun should bring out the flowers this week! I do love this time of year in the garden! Katie x

    http://long-may-she-rain.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thanks for your comment Katie. It's a fabulous time of year isn't it :)

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  4. Hi Anna,

    I never knew that about the stewed appley smell of those leaves. There are lots of those roses on the way to the allotment so I will have a smell tonight once I've finished another epic watering session. The colours of your honeysuckle are the same as my Lonicera periclymenum 'Graham Thomas', although I think mine has more flowers per flower head. I do love the intoxicating smell of honeysuckle. I agree it seems to have been a good year for honeysuckles and roses. Perhaps they liked the cooler spring we had. Also a lot of plants need a good summer the previous year for the wood to ripen in order to encourage flowers to form the following year. Maybe last year's good summer is helping our gardens look good now. Thank you for joining in and your lovely comment. *blushes*. Hope you're enjoying the sunshine. Lou x

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    1. Oh I hope that you have a niff en route to the allotment Lou. They do look very similar to dog roses which are prevalent at this time of year but sadly do not have the same scented foliage. I think that you have hit the nail on the head as to why it's the year of honeysuckle and roses :)

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  5. Mmm, the smell of honeysuckle takes me back too.... As a child I tried making perfume for my Mum by mixing it in a jam jar with some muddy water! LOL! Your rose sounds delicious.

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    1. Same here Cathy but with rose petals. We always forgot about the jars and would find them months later full of most unpleasant smelling slime :)

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  6. It's amazing how scent fosters such strong memories and attachment. For me, it is my mother's climbing roses. I finally have some started, but as we lived in a much milder zone growing up, I still long for hers.:)

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    1. Scent can certainly has the power to take you back to both to time and place. I hope that your climbing roses excel your expectations.

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  7. Love that rose, so romantic! Think the honeysuckle is Lonicera japonica Halliana. I've it too and it flowers for months. I cut mine back hard this spring and it look great now.

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    1. Oh thanks for the suggestion Annette. Will add it to the list to investigate :)

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  8. I have an inherited honeysuckle over an arch leading to the veggie garden. The scent this year would knock your socks off.

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    1. Now that's what I call an inheritance Jessica!

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  9. Two of my favorite plants and flowers especially roses....intoxicating scent.

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  10. A lovely read. I've always found the appearance and scent of wild roses (especially in the countryside) profoundly uplifting, although didn't observe that the leaves are more fragranced than the flower!
    I also adore white honeysuckle which we have a bush of in our back garden near the bin - it smells freshly sweet and just divine.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.