Posts Tagged ‘fragrance’
August 15th, 2010
My gorgeously perfurmed and most treasured of shrubs for the winter the Daphne is covered in fragrant flowers at the moment. The perfume drifts across the yard while I hang out the washing and meets me late in the evening when I go outside to tuck the ducks up in their cosy pen.
Growing daphne can be a heartbreaking job as they will sometimes give up the ghost for no apparent reason and suddenly die, despite all the care you lavish upon them. What they need is the right spot, no where else will do aparently, and if you find them the place where they are happy, they are very easy plants to care for.
The Daphne loves morning sunshine, but likes a shady retreat in the afternoon. These ladies also like a well drained position and don’t like to get too wet, or in the summer too dry – but too wet and they get collar rot, to combat this you need to plant your daphne in a raised garden bed and make sure the root junction is above soil level. In the summer don’t hover about watering and loving it every day, but let the soil dry out in between the waterings.
Little Daphne loves, loves, loves old manure or compost gently worked into the surface back around the drip line, but be careful not to dig around to close to the roots, Daphne does not care to be disturbed! And, whatever you do, do not give her any lime, she does not care for that at all.
Reading over the above, I am amazed at how well my daphne is doing, all things considered. But, if you can find a spot where they are happy, it is truely a wonderful investment to have a Daphne somewhere near your back door.
June 23rd, 2010
It is Winter now. Cold and Grey. But early in Autumn a small bulb, called Hyacinth was cradled neatly given a cool drink and a kiss for luck, then tucked away in a cool dark cupboard. Time moved on as it always does. Blossom thought she had been abandoned! Poor wee little thing.
The weeks past, and it was true that she had been forgotton. But then….What is this? Could it be a little green leaf? Wonder of Wonders…Blossom had been found again. ‘Out of the cupboard with you’, a voice cried. And out she came. She stood close to a window and grew and stretched towards the sun.
She began to shoot up a blue flower. Yes, she was blue! Indeed, she was a proud blue Hyacinthas, called Blossom, much loved and admired by all who passed her way. Stop, she seemed to say, to anyone who would listen. ‘Come close enjoy my fragrance’. And that is just what we do! Isn’t she lovely? And becomming more lovely as each day passes.
Blossom brightens up my winter days!
February 15th, 2010
The Gardenia must be my favourite plant in February! When the gardenia begins to unfurl its perfect, thick white petals and send out its delicious sweet scent you know summer is here for sure! One of the many joys of gardening is the scent that each season introduces. The scent of the Gardenia is summer, and a hot summer is something that Gardenias love!
As well as the warmth of summer days they need plenty of water and feeding. But they reward you for all the work you put in with beautiful blooms which are pure white in full bloom, darkening to a creamy-yellow as they age. I keep my Gardenia in a pot, on my balcony, so that on warm summer evenings it can send out its fragrance in waves of pure joy! A lovely addition to a perfect cool summer evening!
Keeping my gardenia in a pot is also good for over wintering because I can keep it where the Old Man Frost cannot put his cold hands upon it. Something that no self respecting Gardenia would enjoy! No Gardenia will tolerate frost! The Gardenias are native to Africa and Asia, and enjoy warm situations. They do not care to get too cold. This year my dear little gardenia decided to tease me a little, as they do, by covering itself with buds – how exciting, and then only opening one flower at a time. The little tease! Still, I do love the gardenia, well, I do this month!
December 27th, 2009
When you think about the pleasure you get from a garden, or being in a garden, one of the most important elements is undoubtedly scent. Scent is perhaps the most powerfully evocative of all sensory stimuli. The average person can distinguish around ten thousand different smells. For professional ‘noses’ the total is even higher. Our ability to taste depends about 85 per cent on our sense of smell, which is why wine experts judge a wine primarily by smelling it.
Scent offers a very pleasurable experience. That is why people throught history have paid large amounts of money for perfumes. A perfume can contain up to 100 different ingredients. A few of these ingredients come from animals, but the vast majority are plant-based. Essential oils extracted from flowers, leaves, bark, gum etc. The five main categories are: Floral: Lavender, lily of the valley, violet.
Green: basil, lemon balm, pine, rosemary
Citrus: Orange, mandarin, lemon
Woody: Cedar, birch
Spicy: Carnations and pinks, bay, fennel seeds
While you are not setting out to be a master perfumier, it is worth bearing these groups in mind when you are choosing scented plants for your own garden.
The pleasure that scent gives also does you good! Research in the relatively new science of psychoneuroimmunology is showing that if we feel good, if our sense of well-being is enhanced, then our immune system is stronger and we are better able to fight off illness. Scent also works on a physiological, molecular level, with the scent molecules passing into the bloodstream either via the lungs or through the skin and being carried all around the body. This fact was discovered over two thousand years ago by the Greek botanist Theophrastus, when he found that a scent applied to the skin as a plaster or poultice could be detected some time later in the patient’s breath. While scent is at its most powerful in essential oils extracted from plants, the fragrance you smell from plants growing in the garden, though less concentrated works in the same way. That is why you feel so good after weeding in amongst the rosemary or in the herb garden.
Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy that is becoming increasingly recognized as having real merit. Mandy aromatherapists apply essential oils, which are distilled from plants, by means of massage – by itself a very useful therapy for relieving physical and mental stress, which is made even more beneficial by the oils. Others use the oils purely for inhalation, either by means of a burner, in bath water or applied to fabric – a pillow or handkerchief for example. While aromatherapy techniques rely mainly on the use of highly concentrated essential oils, growing scented plants in your garden offers at least some of the same benefits. Certainly, there is nothing like sitting in your garden on a warm evening breathing in all the scents and just relaxing.