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Miscellaneous => Miscellaneous => Topic started by: Umbrian on April 22, 2020, 08:19:52 AM

Title: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on April 22, 2020, 08:19:52 AM
Was going to post about a new Calycanthus I bought last year and did a search  for 'perfumed plants' to see if there is an existing thread for them. Doesn't seem so although I noticed a similar query from me😊 some time there one? and if not could we start one?
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Hilary on April 22, 2020, 08:30:43 AM
That would be interesting
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on April 22, 2020, 09:01:04 AM
Good idea, Carole. Can I start the ball rolling with one that is in full flow at the moment, Pittosporum tobira. We have a large hedge of it and the scent as you get within metres of it is intoxicating.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on April 24, 2020, 07:17:29 AM
Here is my Calycanthus x raulstonii - bought last year rather on impulse but I love perfumed plants and fell in love with the colour of the flowers.  It settled well but did not put on any growth and I was not expecting many flowers this year. However it has surprised me with quite a few developing buds, the first of  which opened this week. The perfume is not particularly strong but the plant has that overall spicy scent that I love and the flowers are certainly attractive and a beautiful colour and so I am well satisfied with this addition.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on April 24, 2020, 07:56:19 AM
In 2003 we attended the MGS AGM in Tuscany which took in a visit to Florence. We kept saying we'd go back one day on our own to spend more time there and in the surrounding area. Eventually we made it, can't remember exactly how long ago (the memory isn't what it used to be) but the hotel we stayed in had a beautiful bush of Calycanthus floridus in the garden, in flower. It immediately became number 1 on Thea's WANT ONE list. Over the years we've tried to acquire one but never succeeded in getting a plant strong enough to establish. Recently we found another very small plant and nursed it through the hot summer, giving it it's own shade canopy. In the winter it lost all its leaves and we have been examining it minutely, ever since the weather began to warm up, for signs of life. Glad to say it is showing a bit of green and hopefully will become stronger this year with some TLC. Fingers crossed.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Charithea on April 24, 2020, 01:50:02 PM
Our Calycanthus floridus was given to us by David Dickinson. He actually travel from Rome to Frascati where we where staying to delivery a box full of plants. Thank you David again. most of them are thriving in the garden now. I made a make shift tent for the Calycanthus  last summer to protect it from the hot sun.  I have extended its canopy this year when the ground was soft by pushing high  sticks into the ground and have ready the white cloth to go on top when summer arrives.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on April 25, 2020, 08:47:19 AM
Several years ago I found a  Calycanthus floridus languishing in the bargain area of a local Viviao. I snapped it up and lavished care on it but it failed to pick up and eventually died. I was a bit wary of this new introduction as it looked a bit exotic but couldn't resist the big, unusually coloured flowers. So far so good.🤞
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on April 27, 2020, 05:49:07 AM
Montanoa grandiflora, I know I have posted about this plant on other threads but the scent of the flowers and the length of flowering time are both amazing. Well worth growing if you can find it.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on April 27, 2020, 05:53:29 AM
Melia azedarach, another tree that has featured on the Forum over the years. Deciduous, the flowers and foliage open together in the spring. Provides early dappled shade and a gentle perfume in the spring if you have the space for it.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on April 27, 2020, 05:57:43 AM
Plectranthus neochilus, not a perfumed plant in the usual accepted sense as it is the foliage that has a pungent smell, so strong that many find it decidedly unpleasant.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on April 27, 2020, 06:12:31 AM
Plectranthus neochilus looks a lovely plant John - always interesting foliage on Plectranthus and that one has lovely coloured flowers. I do include plants with perfumed foliage in my love of scent in the garden- many Salvias have very strongly aromatic leaves for example which is just another asset of that wonderful genus. To run your fingers through them when passing releases some strong scents. Of course we all seem to experience scents in different ways and what one person loves another may find unpleasant.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on April 27, 2020, 08:51:58 AM
Actually, Carole, it's a bit of a thug. The scent is very strong and the plant stretches out in all directions, taking over whole areas. Fine if you have a large, difficult area to fill as it doesn't seem to be fussy about soil and takes the heat well.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on April 28, 2020, 08:42:50 AM
No good for my much smaller garden then - would have been good in the original one I created here though.
My contribution today is Choisya ternata  'Aztec Pearl' that is in full flower at the moment. Not a strong scent but sweetly pleasing and an undemanding shrub with attractive evergreen leaves and happy looking spring is nestled underneath a rather overgrown Coronilla the flowers of which are just beginning to fade after putting on a glorious display for many weeks and seems to be saying " my turn now"

Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on April 29, 2020, 08:41:02 AM
Remembering the wonderful scent that permeated the garden in late February when my Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' was in full bloom. Brought from the UK as a small plant it has thrived in a spot where afforded some shade during the hot summer months and is threatening to take over too much space. I have read that they resent too much pruning and would hate to lose it but will have to try a little curbing I think.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 01, 2020, 07:17:15 AM
Jasminum polyanthum - one of the most highly scented Jasmines. It was bought as a tiny plant, already in flower, for the house but I decided to try it in the garden once the flowering stopped. It grew away very quickly and thanks to a very mild winter and warm, even hot, early spring made big clusters of buds that are now bursting into flower. I placed it in a sheltered spot close to our front entrance gate hoping it's fragrance would welcome visitors........ needless to say that will not be happening this year so let's hope it survives at least another year.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on May 01, 2020, 08:03:31 AM
Carole, we've had one growing up a support at the front of the house for several years. It often starts to show signs of flowering as early as February. This year it was a little late, maybe because we had a 'real' winter for once with lots of rain and cooler temperatures. It has mostly gone over now and looking a bit sorry for itself. The photos were taken towards the end of March.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 02, 2020, 08:26:32 AM
That is stunning John and I can imagine the perfume ........ I am hoping that mine will flourish now that it has obviously put down good roots. I find the early years, with things that are borderline regarding hardiness, are crucial and mine certainly had a good start with the mild winter. It is planted in the angle between the front boundary wall and a smaller retaining wall that bounds the steps and path to the front door. In that corner the soil was very stony, I added some compost before planting, topped dressed it heavily with gravel and kept it well watered last summer. Fingers crossed 🤞
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on May 02, 2020, 09:10:34 AM
You are right, Carole, we find that some plants will take quickly and establish in no time while others can take 2, 3, 4 or even more years before they look at all comfortable. A friend and fellow MGS member who lives in a village on the other side of Limassol says the same thing in her garden.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 03, 2020, 07:12:48 AM
Not a really obvious choice today but nevertheless one I value through the winter months - Violas. There are two plants in this pot that have been growing, and smothered in flowers since late autumn. On sunny days in particular, and there were many this last winter, the delicate scent is very welcome.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on May 03, 2020, 08:52:26 AM
Not sure if this qualifies to be included on here but it's a plant that we discovered for the first time last year in a local nursery. The leaves are tiny, glossy green and when rubbed have a citrus/lemon scent. Apparently it has tiny red flowers in spring but the 3 specimens we bought have not produced any this year, so maybe we'll have to wait until next spring to see them. They should be followed by bunches of tiny berries, hence the common name of Chinese Pepper Tree. Looking up Zanthoxylum beecheyanum on Google produces little information and that often contradictory. For example 2 or 3 sites state that it is deciduous, which it quite obviously isn't. Some say it grows up to 5 feet in height while others put it at half that. Anyway we look forward to seeing how it progresses over time.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 04, 2020, 07:31:35 AM
Me too John - it has very pretty leaves and something I love to do when in the garden is to stroke or rub leaves of aromatic plants and release their scent. Yesterday I was adding things to two planters where I had already placed my scented Perargoniums that had overwinter intact this year. Just brushing agains the leaves as I worked filled the air with the most wonderful scent and added to the pleasure of the work.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 08, 2020, 06:27:57 AM
Obviously can't ignore Roses in this thread. Not a huge fan of Roses and really only like them if perfumed - (with one or two exceptions such as Rosa mutabalis for example.)
However, my Zepherin Drouhin is dripping with blooms at the moment and the scent wafting around it is lovely.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on May 08, 2020, 11:41:10 AM
A few years ago we bought a rose with a label. The name on the label was for a pink rose. The first time it flowered we realised that the label was incorrect. It has taken a long time but we feel that we have at last identified it but there is very little information forthcoming about it. We are fairly sure it is a variety called 'Le Pas du Paradis'. If anyone can either confirm or refute this we'd be grateful.
Whatever it is called it has a pleasant perfume.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Charithea on May 08, 2020, 04:34:09 PM
Carole, your rose Zepherin Drouhin looks amazing. I was not happy  paying out so much for  roses that used to die or just looked pathetic but  since we discovered Avramis Roses from Greece the plants do better and this year we have them blooming all over the place. Our Damask rose has been blooming since the beginning of December and the blooms last for quite a while.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 09, 2020, 06:38:21 AM
An old fashioned favourite for perfume today - Dianthus 'Mrs Sinkins" not the easiest plant to sight as it can become very straggly. The perfume is intense though - if you like that particularly heady kind, really reminiscent of cloves. This particular clump has behaved very well this year - against all the odds - under an Olive tree and surrounded by taller growing plants on three sides. It has kept compact and produced good, upstanding flower stems. Another, planted at the edge of a border alongside a small patio has sprawled onto the paving and produced very weak stems........
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 10, 2020, 07:55:31 AM
Lavenders of course are universally known for their perfume but my photo today features Salvia lavandulifolia that exudes a mix of S.officinalis, the common cookery sage, with the perfume of Lavender. It only flowers once, early in the year, when it puts on a spectacular display but the dark sage green leaves retain this wonderful mix of perfume throughout and are always a delight to brush your fingers through.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Hilary on May 10, 2020, 08:06:08 AM
I enjoy reading all these posts about perfumed plants and am trying to train myself to notice scents.

I once read an article about how to write travel writing. It said you have to make people see, hear and smell the place you are writing about
 In all the weekly letters I sent to my parents and newsletters I wrote to friends about our holidays here in Greece and later foreign travel I don't think I mentioned once the scents, smells I experienced
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on May 11, 2020, 05:54:42 AM
Our Carissa macrocarpa is coming into flower. To my mind they have a scent somewhat similar to jasmine. They have a fruit that is apparently edible although I have never tried it as our plant rarely produces one. With their vicious spines they would make a good security hedge.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 11, 2020, 07:01:42 AM
Beautiful little white flowers too John.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 11, 2020, 07:15:34 AM
Spartium junceum - for me the perfume of late spring here in  Umbria when it is a joy to drive along the country roads with the car windows down and the car fills with their glorious scent. Although  gardening in  a much reduced space now I have found room for one and am enjoying its display now. When called upon to give help and advice about things to grow in gardens here in Umbria I used to find people turned their noses up at including it  remarking ' oh that grows wild everywhere'. My point exactly when they were complaining that the stony soil and climate were causing them problems.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on May 11, 2020, 07:43:19 AM
They are the same here, Carole, covering the hillsides with yellow in spring along with Calycotome villosa. Our Spartium is late this year only now starting to burst into flower. I agree that people just don't look around to see what grows naturally in their area and take inspiration from that.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 12, 2020, 06:49:24 AM
Ours is very early this year although I have not been out and about much even with the  easing of travel restrictions making me even happier that I have one in full flower in the garden.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 14, 2020, 06:23:20 AM
Lathyrus odorata - Sweet Pea, as both names suggest a highly scented plant long cherished for its perfume. I leave a few seed heads to mature each year before removing the spent plants and always have sufficient volunteers to ensure the following years supply. They germinate in the early autumn and stand over winter making strong fresh growth in the spring and early flowers before the real heat sets in.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: David Dickinson on May 15, 2020, 10:20:44 AM
Nauplius sericeus qualifies as a perfumed plant if you rub the leaves. Very fruity smell and lovely silvery leaves. Unfortunately, I have to move it into my small greenhouse over the winter as it is not frost hardy. I am going to try cuttings this year . I have not had success with the seeds it produces. I will try sowing them immediately and again in autumn this year. Spring sowing has repeatedly failed.

It is a close relative of Pallensis maritima which grows more easily for me but is not scented. I think Astericus is an accepted synonym for both plants
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 16, 2020, 06:44:41 AM
Philadelphus is a much loved perfumed shrub. I have fond memories of a large one in my childhood garden bunches of which, when in flower, would be taken to school to give to the teacher. I was dubious about it's suitability for inclusion in my first garden in Italy but on noticing a lovely large specimen growing close to an old abandoned farmhouse decided to give it a go. There the soil was poor and stony but it survived and gave a few flowers each year. On moving I inherited a small garden with wonderful soil and decided to include a Philadelphus and have been rewarded with a much happier plant that at the moment is filling the garden with it's wonderful scent ( and me with childhood memories)
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Hilary on May 16, 2020, 06:52:10 AM
Childhood memories.
We had Pussy willow, Flowering currant and Mock orange  to the left of the path leading to the front door.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on May 16, 2020, 09:01:22 AM
An amazing coincidence, Carole, I had been out taking a few photos and after attaching my camera to the computer to download them I clicked on to the Forum. There was your photo of Philadelphus. One of the photos I had taken was of our small bush. It has not grown very large but it is in an area that is shaded from the worst of the summer sun and it muddles along from year to year.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on May 21, 2020, 06:00:11 AM
My wife called me out this morning to see our Eleagnus angustifolia tree as it had begun to flower. I could smell it long before I got to it. The flowers are minute but what they lack in size they more than make up for in an incredible perfume.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on May 21, 2020, 07:43:22 AM
Love that tree John but unfortunately no room for it in my small garden now. I remember the scent hitting me as soon as I left the house at our former place.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on June 01, 2020, 08:23:54 AM
Plants don't get much more perfumed than the Gardenia, but here in Cyprus they can be quite difficult to grow successfully. They prefer conditions to be on the acidic side and here they are predominantly very alkaline. Some years ago we found that a local nursery was offering healthy plants that the owner said would take the alkaline soil and water no problem as he was grafting them onto a rootstock that would take it. For a long time he wouldn't tell us what it was. Over time he realised that we knew a bit about what we were talking about and he mellowed, then one day he admitted that he was grafting onto a South African Gardenia thunbergia that didn't mind the alkaline conditions. This plant will itself grow into a small tree up to 5 m in height with large fragrant flowers.
The photos show a Gardenia jasminoides and its graft, also a Gardenia thunbergia that we bought and planted to grow into a tree in its own right.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Hilary on July 15, 2020, 05:46:34 PM
Hoya carnosa, Wax plant, Κεράκι

This plant grows outside our front door in a very small pot, it gets a good shower of water once a week on  the day I clean the balcony. Every summer evening it fills the living room with its sweet scent, however the hard seeds which fall to the floor are a danger for those, mostly children, who insist on walking barefoot.

As usual I looked to see if this plant is mentioned in THE MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN, yes many times.
The article I chose REMEMBERING A GARDEN ON A GREEK HILLSIDE-SPAROZA 1979-80:PART 3, WINTER by Graham Kendall is illustrated with a drawing of Hoya carnosa by Freda Cox
THE MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN number 96, April 2019
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: John J on July 16, 2020, 04:51:10 AM
Hilary, coincidentally I took very similar photos of our Hoya a couple of days ago.
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Umbrian on July 16, 2020, 07:18:47 AM
Beautiful flowers and scent. I have one that came from a very rambling overgrown plant that  belonged to my mother-in-law. When she died I could not house it and so took some cuttings. One of these came to Italy with us over 20 years ago and with judicious pruning is still going strong. Of course here it is a house plant and I am not very successful with those on the whole but the Hoya survives regardless :)
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Hilary on November 25, 2020, 09:06:42 AM
Crassula mucosa

Growing on our south facing balcony. I had planted cuttings from an existing plant into a white plastic pot in the autumn of 2018 and by April 2020 it was well established and ready to be put in its final home.

Two other pots of cuttings were planted last winter and are not so green or healthy looking. But will enjoy the rain, when it arrives

All three pots of Crassula mucosa emit a very strong scent at the moment perfuming our living room and bedroom.

The third photo was taken of the elusive flower of the Crassula mucosa in November 2010. This year I have looked and looked but have not discovered the  flowers

The last photo shows the corner of the trough and the rather miserable looking Crassula mucosa plants
Title: Re: Perfumed plants
Post by: Charithea on November 25, 2020, 12:00:47 PM
Hilary, I find 'succulents' are so useful greening up the place so the occasional flower is a bonus.