SLOW DOWN AND SMELL THE ROSES…
By Anne Byrne Garden Design
I’m not inclined to go on holiday in the summer. There are lots of reasons. Most of them to do with prices doubling the minute schools close, which I totally get – supply and demand and all that. Airports and resorts are crowded. And summer, for a garden designer, is a little like December for Santa, Mrs Claus and the Elves. I am lucky enough though to have a sheltered back garden, and on a warm, calm summer’s day – ‘A day born of the gentle south’ – there is really nowhere I would rather be.
Summer, here, is a time of perfume, a time to slow down, close your eyes and just inhale the scents. Roses, of course. I wonder if you know that all roses don’t have the same scent? Just like wine, the ‘bouquet’ varies from one to another – fruity, light, sweet or musky. Space is tight and the soil’s not ideal for them here so those that make the cut are, you might say, a cut above.
Tufts of lawn chamomile are tucked amongst the paving, so when you tread on it, the perfume wafts upwards. This year I’ve added inky-blue lavender in a row along a south facing wall to take advantage of any sun that’s going. Brushing a hand over it as you walk past releases the scent. I love aromatic plants like these – things you have to slightly crush, rub or brush against to release the fragrance. I think it’s because it makes you more involved with the growing thing: you have to interact with the plant for it to show you what it can do, and this brings you closer to the heart of the garden.
Star jasmine scrambles along trellis near my hidden spot at the end of the garden, where I go to hide when there are jobs to do. Its perfume lingers in the air on a warm day. But the best thing, my very favourite thing, is the honeysuckle, whose heavenly scent is only apparent in the cool of the evening or the early morning. A few sprigs in a glass will have hardly any scent during the day, but will pump out perfume come evening. A party trick by a plant – who knew? Actually, it’s because the moths that pollinate it are active at night. But who wants to know the science when it feels like magic?
ANNE BYRNE GARDEN DESIGN