Something smells good!

By Assistant Head Gardener, Dave Hand

“Is there anything more pleasing than being met by the scent of spring flowers wafting in the air on a warm, sunny, morning?

“It happened to me the other day, as I was walking up Bishop Rudd’s walk towards the Asiatic Garden to be met by the rising sun, and a strong aroma. Looking around, I was trying to work out where the strong scent was coming from as there is so much in bloom at this time. Ceanothus with their Mediterranean blue flowers beginning to open. Yes, they have a scent, but not that strong to fill the air, it must be something else?

Spectacular yellow blooms on a group of tree paeony, worth the hike up to the Clematis arch, however it’s not them, so walking back down the shade covered stream path, I find the source. A bank of Azalea Luteum, with their fragrant yellow flowers leaning over to greet visitors.

The strong scent given off by Rhododendrons and Azaleas triggers memories for me of this week of the year at the Chelsea flower Show in the 80s and 90s. Walking into bark chip covered marques back then, my lasting impression was not only the magnificent floral displays but also the overwhelming cocktail of scents from damp bark and spires of perfectly positioned blooms that greeted us back in those days.

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