Best scents of summer

Which plants have the most evocative scents of summer? At the risk of being called an introverted snob again (Caroline thinks I don’t read what she puts out about me on Twitter) gardening is so much more interesting when you explore the biology behind it. Flowers produce scent to lure pollinators to their nectar. So I have concluded that moths must have a much poorer sense of smell than butterflies as flowers that are adapted to pollination by crepuscular insects (those that come out at dawn and dusk Caroline) have the strongest scent of all. Take Brugmansia, the angels...

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Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi – I want a magnolia

How can anyone not love a Magnolia? Their lavish flowers declare in their classy way that spring has really arrived in all its finery. People like Caroline might assume these celestial-looking beauties are all the same but it’s NOT TRUE and you must be careful to choose wisely. Most are deciduous (lose their leaves in winter), and bear their blossom before the leaves emerge, which lets you fully appreciate the satisfying form of the flowers. Magnolia soulangeana is the one commonly seen in suburban gardens – though, having been bewitched in the garden-centre, many people clearly failed to realise...

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