a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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Pumpkin perfume?

Before I had my own garden I enjoyed visiting other gardens, my favourite being the walled garden in Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire.  I made a mental “wish list” of the flowers and trees I would plant if I had my own garden.  It was not only their colour or beauty that attracted me but also their perfume.

I used to walk in the Botanical Gardens in Aberdeen at lunch time and I remember searching for the flower along the path that had the heady perfume.  It took me a couple of days sniffing at all the flowers along the path before one day I returned on the other side and found the hedge of perfumed Skimmia.  I would never have imagined that a perfume could travel so far.

Similarly in Geneva I walked for ages tracking the heavenly perfume that was floating in the air.  I found the lime trees in flower and I could have stayed under them all day.  I have planted two lime trees in the garden which flowered for the first time this year.

The perfume of a garden is essential to me.  If  it is at all possible I plant a perfumed variety.

So I have chosen to plant the perfumed roses like , “Mme. Alfred Carrière”, “Mme Isaac Péreire” and “Mme Caroline Testout”

‘Mme. Alfred Carrière’

‘Mme Isaac Péreire’

‘Mme Caroline Testout’

Blue Wisteria

I have planted Wisteria along the front wall and it  perfumes the whole front garden when it is in flower.

Honeysuckle

I have to have several clumps of honeysuckle even though it can be invasive and needs a strong hand to control it.  Honeysuckle perfume is warm summer nights.

I also love the more subtle perfumes of the wild mint and thyme that grows through the grass and releases their essence as they are crushed underfoot.

Pumpkin flowers

However, I was quite taken aback by the perfume of my pumpkin flowers.

I noticed a couple of days ago a perfume drifting over the garden and I located it to the pumpkins which are isolated on a pyramid to enjoy the most sunshine.

Pumpkin pyramid

I do not know what variety they are as I saved the seeds from a delicious pumpkin given to me last year by my friends Patricia and Guy.

Have I got a mutant perfumed variety?  Do pumpkin flowers usually smell this good and the world forgot to tell me?  Am I particularly sensitive to plant perfumes?

Flowers fade in a day

The downside is that the flowers last less than a full day and the perfume is strongest early in a warm sunny morning.

I would love to know if other people enjoyed perfumed pumpkin flowers.