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Clumber Gardener: Spring scents to bring on the summer

Chris Margrave, head gardener at Clumber Park
Chris Margrave, head gardener at Clumber Park

British summer time has begun, the evenings are lighter and we can enjoy our gardens for longer.

Scented flowers bring extra pleasure into a garden and there is a good choice, be it shrubs, hardy perennials or biennials.

Most do best in a sunny spot and are best planted close to a path, front of a border or in a container, so that their fragrance is fully appreciated.

Daphne (shrub) has plenty of choices, the evergreen Aureomarginata has purple blooms and creamy-white leaves.

Viburnum (shrub) produces sweetly scented pale pink to white flowers from April into May.

Skimmia ‘Rubella’ (shrub) is an evergreen with attractive pink-red buds over the winter and white fragrant flowers in April.

This shrub needs an acid soil or compost, if grown in a container.

Ribes odoratum (shrub) has yellow flowers in April followed by black berries and rich autumn leaf colour.

Narcissus ‘Thalia’ (bulb) produces two or three fragrant white flowers per stem.

It is good for containers and will naturalise when suited.

Hyacinth (bulb)has many varieties, among the best are Ostara, City of Haarlem, Carnegie and Chestnut Flower.

Lily of the Valley (hardy perennial)produces fragrant white flowers in May and there are also double and pink flowered forms.

Sweet Rocket (hardy perennial)has pale lilac flowers from May, especially of an evening.

Wallflower (biennial) is a spring stalwart with many varieties in yellow, orange and red.

Brompton Stock (biennial) is an over-winter plant that produces white, pink, mauve or red flowers in spring and is good for containers and displaying in an unheated greenhouse.

It is now April and the pace quickens as daylight lengthens, temperatures rise and spring growth gets underway.

Mulch the soil to keep weeds in check and conserve water.

Bark chippings, spent mushroom compost and well-rotted manure are ideal for this.

Prune early flowering shrubs such as forsythias and flowering currants after they have finished flowering.

Lawns need mowing, for the first few cuts set the mower blades at around 2.5 centimetres.

As the soil warms, weed seeds will begin germinating.

On dry, sunny days these can be controlled with a hoe, still the greenest way to weed, and good exercise too.

Remove the faded flower heads from early spring flowering daffodils.

Get out and visit gardens. Displays of bulbs, spring flowering perennials and early blossom should be looking good.