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.


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.


21 thoughts on “Pumpkin perfume?

  1. I had no idea that pumkin flowers were perfumed. Like you I try to choose plants with perfume. When I designed our first garden my husband said he didn’t care what I planted as long as it was scented! Christina


  2. I’ve never noticed pumpkin flowers having a perfume, but am now intrigued and will have to investigate! This year mine are planted at the base of the sweet peas, so maybe the competition is just too much.


  3. Pingback: The garden in August « a french garden

  4. Oh my. We have grown pumpkins most years and I have never noticed perfume! We don’t have any this year but we will grow some next year and I am going to research varieties now and find some perfume! I think a particular love of perfume in the garden is another thing we have in common,


  5. How interesting, my pumpkins have finished flowering now so I’ll have a sniff at the flowers that grow next year. I also adore scented flowers, if they’re colourful too then it’s a bonus. I’m already planning on growing more roses and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the wisteria I planted from seed picks up a little as it’s looking slightly sick thanks to the heat, I’m so keen to have one growing in my garden.


    1. I read in a gardening book that it takes 20 years before a Wisteria will flower if sown from seed. Mature plants throw up runners which you have to cut down. We have propagated a lot from these runners and they flower straight away. Now is the time to see if anyone around has a Wisteria as they would be happy to give you a runner. They are very vigorous, rapid growers.


  6. jul leanne

    I know I’m chiming in here YEARS late, however … I happened to notice a strong (almost gardenia-ish) scent from one my pumpkin flowers today (yes, only one! I checked all of them!). I googled this apparent phenomenon & your site was the first out of 2 google page lists, to mention this terrific smell! It’s not very common, I guess – how exciting!
    Thanks for posting & thanks to others for replying as well. Happy gardening 😊


  7. Amanda Rodham

    Have had to look this up, to see if anyone had posted about the fragrance of pumpkin flowers, and yes….. truly the sweetest scent! I think it is reminiscent of lilac blooms. As the lilac has recently flowered here I believe the pumpkin flower scent was very, very similar. It was such a surprise and delightful. Probably I may not have noticed it had the flower been outdoors but we have kept one in a warm conservatory and you really notice so much more in terms of growth and timing of flowering and fading and of course scent. I will see if the male and female flowers are any different in scent strength when the plant eventually sends out a female one. Its not mentioned in Roy Genders ‘Scented Flora of the World’ what an omission!


  8. Ntmomo

    I love in Alaska and have a big greenhouse. Today I followed my nose to find the heady, floral smell coming from a squash plant! I collected blossoms to stuff and fry but could not bring myself to eat these fragrant blooms, so now they’re in a small vase. They are very strong! I planted an assortment of squash from a friend and the only pumpkin I remember in the batch was “Big Max”. I hope this is what it is. I’ll definitely be saving some seeds if I get fruit!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Eau de cucurbit – Transcendental Gardening

  10. Carolina

    I grew butternut last year and didn’t notice anything, but this year I’m trying Uchiki Kuri squash and now that the plants are in full bloom, I’ve been noticing this beautiful scent really early in the mornings. At first I thought it came from an adjacent yard, but then I went in the garden to pollinate some of the female blossoms and realised it was coming from the pumpkin flowers. Amazing! A quick Google search brought me here. I hope this helps! Greetings from Argentina!


  11. Pingback: A story with a happy ending | a french garden

  12. I walked into my greenhouse today, which had been completely closed, and noticed a beautiful smell, and three kabocha flowers were open. had never noticed this before so came here to check!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is so interesting! As they are flowering in a greenhouse you were able to appreciate the perfume that had been trapped inside. I am not familiar with this type of pumpkin but it looks like
      pumpkins with perfumed flowers are more general than I thought. The perfume does not last long in the open and the flowers can open early in the day. Amelia


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s