Pie Night and Muffins
The last day of the heatwave saw a big turnout at our June meeting to hear Kari-Astri Davies talk on scented plants. The meeting was preceded by a very successful Pie Night at the Dolau Cothi – 25 of us including Kari and her husband Philip – it was the maximum the Dolau Cothi could accommodate! Well done to Jane ‘the Pie’ Holmes and Dave and Esther for all their hard work organising, cooking and serving to make it all run so smoothly. It is proving to be an excellent way to enjoy each other’s company in convivial surroundings. Next Pie Night will be in September so mark it in your diaries and book in quickly as, if numbers increase again, sadly some will end up being disappointed.
A big thank you to Anne for treating us to some delicious muffins to go with our tea before the evening’s talk. These were a thank you to all members from Team Large for everyone’s support for their Snowdon Night Hike
Scents and Scentsability – Gardening led by the nose
Kari-Astri Davies talk ‘Scents and Scentsability – Gardening led by the nose’, was fascinating, covering scents both pleasant and foul, through different seasons, daytime and nocturnal. Brilliantly researched, it was packed with interesting and amusing information and anecdotes and together with her excellent photographs held us all spellbound for the duration. If she hadn’t told us it was her first talk we would never have known. Anyone interested can follow her blog by clicking here. http://karisgarden.co.uk/
A handful of interesting points were…..
- Scent comes from many parts of the flowers (petals, sepals, pollen and nectar) as well as different parts of a plant e.g. leaves, stems, bark, etc
- Scent is used by the plant to attract pollinators to ensure reproduction. It can also be used by a plant to repel insect attack.
- Volatile alcohols are the chemicals the plant produces that we can smell, and each plant ‘scent’ is usually made up of between 5 and 150 of volatiles. Sweet Peas for example have up to 48. Common volatiles are geraniol, linalool and nerol amongst others.
- Bees are better at ‘scenting’ than butterflies which are better at recognising shape.
- Scent keys into our subconscious more than any other sense.
- The amount of scent a plant produces varies with the time of day, being at its greatest to coincide with the maximum activity of pollinators.
- Floral development also affects scent emission – greatest when the flower is fully open, reducing once pollination has taken place.
Bulbs and Brassicas (mainly)
Narcissus: tazetta, poeticus and jonquilla varieties all have mainly scented forms including: N. Pencrebar, N. Sweetness, N. Martinette, N. Winston Churchill
- Tulips: General de Wet, Ballerina, Dom Pedro
- Cyclamen repandum
- Convallaria majalis prolificans (Lily of the Valley)
- Myrrhis odorata (Sweet Cicely)
- Matthiola incana alba (Wild/Perennial Stock)
- Hesperis matronalis alba (Dames Violet, white form)
- Lunaria rediviva (Perennial Honesty)
- Sweet Peas
- Iris: Florentina (produces orris-root widely used in perfumes), English Cottage, Katie Koo Kelways
- Roses: Roses emit between 35% and 85% of their volatile alcohols depending on the time of day and age of the flower, the depth of fragrance thus varies accordingly – higher in daytime and when the flower is fully open.
- R. Khazanlik (Damask) – makes Rose of Attar, R. Felicite Parmentier, R. Variegata di Boulogne, R. rugosa Hansa
- Dianthus – often used to under-plant roses. D. Ursula le Grove, D. Rose de Mai
- Heliotrope The Speaker
- Pelargoniums – these are often better known for their scented leaves rather than flowers. Interestingly the volatile alcohol geraniol comes from roses while the similarly named geraniel comes from Pelargoniums.
- P. Claret Rock Unique, P. Grey Lady Plymouth, P. Attar of Roses
- Salvia discolor
- Aloysia citrodora (Lemon Verbena) – contains 30% of the volatile citrol compared to Lemon Grass which contains up to 85%.
The Night Garden
Plants that release their fragrance at night are usually aiming to attract night flying pollinators such as moths. Kari recommended an excellent book called ‘The Evening Garden’ by Peter Loewer.
- Lonicera japonica Halliana
- Nicotiana alata, N. sylvestris
- Brugmansia – hallucinogenic if consumed!
- Cestrum parqui (Chilean Jessamine)
- Epiphylum oxypetalum
- Zaluzianskya carpensis
- Oenothera pallida
- Pelargonium lawrenceanum
Shrubs, Trees and Two Climbers
- Daphne bholua ‘Jaqueline Postill’
- Azora microphylla (Chocolate/vanilla scent)
- Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ (male), S. x confusa ‘Kew White (female – white berries)
- Peonies, tree and herbaceous forms: P. Sarah Bernhardt, P. Duchess de Nemours
- Acacia dealbata
- Wisteria ‘Amethyst’
- Philadelphus ‘Casa Azul’
- Abelia triflora
- Tilia cordata
- Eleagnus augustifolia
- Colletia armata – flowers in September/October
- Aeonium Velour
- Arum creticum – has a more pleasant smell than most arums which stink of rotting flesh to attract flies.
Plants for Problem Places – July Meeting
Our next meeting will be on July 19th, starting at 7.30pm when our speaker will be Jenny Matthews.
Jenny and Kevin Matthews run Moorland Cottage Plants, a nursery and garden near Crymych in Pembrokeshire. Their site is on the northern slopes of the Preseli mountains and often exposed to wind and very low temperatures in the winter. So, Jenny is certainly qualified to present to us an evening of ‘Plants for Problem Places’. Whether you have a large or small garden, there are sure to be one or two spots where you’re not sure just which plant will thrive. Come along on 19th July for some tips and advice. Jenny will bring some plants for sale, grown at her own nursery. She does not use a polytunnel so all her plants are hardy and ready to go straight into your garden. More information can be found at www.moorlandcottageplants.co.uk
Our website has a page on members plant favourites and it would be lovely if more folk could contribute towards it. All we need is your favourite plant for a particular month – and if you can do more than one, that would be great! Please email your favourites to Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org
Two Gardens Finessed and Sculpted to Perfection
The gardens of Brenda and Angela and Martin had a successful open day for the NGS on Sunday 25th June. Both gardens were looking beautiful – even in the rain when some of the photos were taken. Fortunately the weather perked up and was mainly dry for the most part. The following are summaries of the day by Brenda and Angela:
Despite the fact the weather was a little kinder than last year we still had a busy and enjoyable day although numbers were slightly down on the previous year.
I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all who donated cakes and helped on the day especially, Yvonne, Penny and Elena for (wom)manning the refreshments which has earned £100 for Cothi Gardeners funds,
and also to John & Helen for doing a magnificent job on the plant stall which raised £300 for the NGS. Really couldn’t do it without all your help. Brenda
Sculptors Open Garden Sunday 25th was a successful day. Although the afternoon was rather grey the rain managed to hold off with only a few minor drizzles. A steady flow of visitors made for a very pleasant afternoon meeting some very nice people and having some really interesting conversations.
It is always good to meet people who have lived in or know the property and of course it is very rewarding to see that those people are enjoying the changes that Martin and I have made to the garden. Those that had visited the garden before also seemed to enjoy the changes that had been made to the meadow and mini woodland area which was newly acquired last year and is in contrast to the neat walled court yard garden.
The plant that stole the show was once again Cornus kousa var. chinensis with its wonderful white bracts. The unique feature about this garden is the way it envelopes and forms backdrops to the sculptures that have been created by the ourselves, husband and wife, Martin Duffy & Angela Farquharson. In all it was a most enjoyable afternoon raising funds for the NGS of £285 and jointly with Bwlchau Duon raised over £1000. A further £233.50 was raised from tea and plant sales at the Sculptors Garden for St Richards Hospice, Worcester who took such good care of Angela’s father before he passed away in 2016.
“ Thank you so much all visitors, helpers and cake makers for supporting this event, it could not be done without you all.”
Gelli Uchaf – National Meadows Day
Julian and Fiona finished their year of opening their garden for the NGS on Saturday with a special opening with guided meadow walks and discussions for National Meadows Day. It was a highly successful day, if exhausting(!) with both morning and afternoon slots full – no more parking spaces! The weather smiled and showed off the flowers in the meadows and the garden itself to perfection. Our visitors on the day came from far afield (Manchester, Gloucestershire, Glamorgan and included an NGS trustee, one of Highgrove’s gardeners and a retired garden designer with 5 Chelseas under his belt!) as well as more locally and it was lovely to see several familiar faces amongst them.
This has been our most successful year of opening the garden with 144 visitors, more than ever before.
Thank you to those who came and helped Fiona with teas for the larger groups, it was very much appreciated.