a french garden

Pumpkin perfume?

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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.

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Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

8 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

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  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.

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  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,

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  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.

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    • 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.

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