Convallaria majalis var. rosea (Pink Lily of the Valley)

Pink lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis var. rosea)
Pink form of Lily of the valley

Like me, you probably think of Lily of the valley as being white but there’s also a dainty pink form, which is quite rare. The pink is stippled and subtle, as if it has been spray painted (although we’d better not go there, let’s say powder coated). Both forms prefer shady conditions, from dappled to full. Continue reading “Convallaria majalis var. rosea (Pink Lily of the Valley)”

Calycanthus ‘Venus’ | Carolina Allspice Hybrid

Calycanthus 'Venus' - Carolina allspice

Q: When is a Magnolia not a Magnolia?
A: When it’s a Calycanthus.

Calycanthus is an ornamental, multi-stemmed shrub that caught my eye last year at one of the flower shows. Large, creamy flower buds open out to fragrant blooms held above the foliage. The fleshy flowers are often compared to a magnolia, although the petals are slim, curly and more plentiful. Continue reading “Calycanthus ‘Venus’ | Carolina Allspice Hybrid”

Howick Hall’s Sensory Garden

A bench in an abundant flower garden
A bench tempts the visitor to linger and enjoy a visual feast of flowers

What makes a sensory garden different to any other garden? We can expect the boundaries to be pushed, as they are in Howick Hall’s new sensory garden. Starting, as in any garden, with the soothing power of green, contrasting textures and colours are layered on to stimulate us.

Silvery heart-shaped leaves, grasses and hydrangeas
Silver brunnera leaves with dwarf hydrangea and golden Japanese hakone

We respond with an instinctive head-turn as we half-spot a flash of wings between rustling leaves. Our thumbs and forefingers are stained and scented from crushing a rosemary leaf, just one of many fragrant plants around us. We tune in to sounds – water splashing, birdsong and the blunt music of windchimes.  Continue reading “Howick Hall’s Sensory Garden”

Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’: A Crimson Purple Gallica Rose With A Classic Old Rose Scent

A semi-double dark crimson rose with golden stamens

Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb”s semi-double flowers are full enough to amply frame a central boss of golden stamens, lifted by glimpses of white around the eye. The petals have a rich, velvety character. You’ll see ‘Tuscany Superb’ described as maroon, purple, crimson, burgundy. I’ve contented myself with crimson-purple, but you can take your pick! As the flowers age, their colour darkens.

We have relatively few scented, crimson-purple rose varieties, and this one remains popular with those who are willing to grow roses that are summer flowering (the industry term for once-flowering). While some roses are grown as a thorny deterrent, ‘Tuscany Superb’ rose is prickly at best.

Depending on which expert you believe (in the absence of the luxury of having a bloom before you to savour), the fragrance is either medium or strong. Everyone agrees on its character, which is a classic Old Rose fragrance.  Continue reading “Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’: A Crimson Purple Gallica Rose With A Classic Old Rose Scent”

The Very Fragrant Rose ‘Gertrude Jekyll’

Pink rose with a beautiful rosette shaped flower

On Sundays, I’m sharing a square cropped picture of a pink rose as part of Becky’s Square In September challenge. We are invited to dip in and out of this daily challenge as we please. She’s looking for a post where the main photograph is square and the subject is In The Pink.

Several people have asked if the roses I’ve been sharing this month are especially fragrant. Last week’s was not, so I promised a highly scented one for this week and I have kept my word. Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ has as strong and lovely an Old Rose fragrance as anyone could hope for. Scratch and sniff!

(It might work, if you have an active imagination).