Midsummer – the month of June, should hopefully give us balmy weather in which to enjoy the long daylight hours in our gardens.
5 scented flowering shrubs for a midsummer garden suggests plants which will increase your enjoyment of your garden without adding to the chores, as they’re all easy to look after.
The shrub Philadelphus is also known as mock orange, as the scent resembles that of orange blossom. Depending on variety this deciduous shrub flowers May, June and July. It’s a magnet for bees, so great if you want to include nectar rich plants in your garden.
Philadelphus is tolerant of most conditions, and copes with urban pollution and salt-laden air. They’re easy to grow. Mulch around the roots of the plant in the spring with garden compost to help keep the soil moist. Then prune after flowering, removing one in four of the older stems to ground level.
Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ is one of the most fragrant mock oranges. It has arching branches of white flowers, each faintly blotched in maroon.
Philadelphus ‘Virginal’ and ‘Manteau d’Hermine’ both have double flowers. The latter is compact, so it’s good for containers and small gardens. Whilst the former is a tall shrub, good for the back of a border.
It would seem that the darker the lavender flower, the more intense the fragrance.
Both the flowers and the foliage of this herb produce a pleasant perfume.
Lavender angustifolia, English Lavender, is the hardiest type to grow in the UK. But you still need to remember that it’s a plant of Mediterranean origin so likes good drainage and full sun.
Personally, I prefer to use English Lavender for hedges and edging. Plant lavender alongside your garden paths to enjoy the aroma as you stroll.
Pollinating insects, especially bees, love all types of lavender. The Spanish lavender and French lavenders are arguably more decorative so would look pretty in containers in a warm courtyard or patio.
Dried lavender retains its fragrance, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in pot pourri sachets for wardrobes and chests of drawers.
Well obviously I had to include the rose! I am not including climbing roses or rambling roses here, just shrub roses, to stay in keeping with the title 5 Scented Flowering Shrubs for a Midsummer Garden.
That still gives so many to choose from! Do be sure, if you’re choosing your rose for scent, that it has a strong enough scent for you and also the right type of scent. For example, the brilliant orange Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ has a strong fruity perfume. Rosa ‘Macmillan Nurse’ has a delicate scent to match its soft white bloom. Whereas Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ has a rich old rose fragrance.
Shrub roses are probably the most versatile group of roses as they fit a variety of locations with in the garden for sun and shade. Many modern shrub roses are repeat flowering, so whilst they’re delighting our noses in June, they’ll be doing so in August too.
Choisya, also known as Mexican orange blossom. A reliable deciduous shrub, its often seen as more suitable for public parks and communal gardens than smaller private gardens.
This is a waste. The scented flowers bloom in June – but will have been flowering in April and will do so again in late summer / autumn.
If Choisya ternata is too ‘ordinary’ for you, try Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec pearl’. This has a delicate leaf which makes it suitable for any spot in the garden. All Choisya are evergreen and the dense foliage provides cover for nesting birds. So this can be an easy maintenance option for a wildlife friendly garden too.
This one may surprise you. Often treated as an annual summer bedding plant, Heliotrope are tender perennial shrubs. So you may be able to overwinter yours in a greenhouse or conservatory.
Heliotrope is also known as cherry pie. But some people find the rich sweet fragrance reminds them of vanilla pods rather than cherry pie. Either way, the clusters of blue-purple, occasionally white, flowers emit a delicious aroma.
The clusters of small blooms have a long flowering season, from midsummer through to the late autumn in sheltered areas. Heliotrope like morning sun but will tolerate some shade.
However, like many common garden plants, Heliotrope are poisonous to humans and animals if eaten.
So there are my suggestions for 5 scented flowering shrubs for a midsummer garden. Scent is the theme, but the choices also offer a variety of leaf shape and texture, to give further interest. Two of them are evergreen shrubs; and also happen to have aromatic foliage as well as scented flowers. Although highly enjoyable in the garden, you can also cut the blooms, as sprays or individual flowers, to take inside the house.
These plant suggestions are obviously general. For specific scented flowering shrubs to suit your own requirements and your garden style, please do get in touch to discuss a garden design or garden consultancy.
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