Should I be using the word opulence, should it be abundance?
The dictionary tells me it is great wealth or luxuriousness  and I do feel this piece is about a luxuriance of flower and foliage.
 It is July and it has so far been a very wet summer, storms and grey skies.
However it has become a little warmer and plants have their heads up and are showing off their worth.
July always means roses, mock orange and campanulas but it also is my month of opulence.

We have been at Abriachan now for 29 years and each summer I am surprised that a plant that I planted; more in hope than wisdom; is suddenly a star and a major player on our summer stage.
One such, is a seedling New Zealand clematis, it now crowns a group of hazel trees for many weeks and is now substantial enough to be visible from the car park.

Rose pauls Himalayan musk, tumbling over a terrace and full of flower and fragrance. Is anything as nice as a the heady midsummer scent of roses?

 Rose Rambling Rector has grown steadily through a Alnus incana and is now a magnificent pillar of white. A truly breath-taking sight.

We also have a wonderfully vigorous Rosa Wickwar with attractive light grey-green leaves and just now crowned by a mass of single, creamy flowers with golden stamens, that are scenting the air.
Wickwar has some lovely floral trails , but to see it best you need to see it from above , as is often the case with plants such as roses and clematis that climb through trees.
Maybe we should think of a tree top walk!

But the star of this mid-summer has been native honeysuckle. I see it everywhere doing well, but we had a jaw dropping spectacle. One of our oaks had a curtain of honeysuckle, it must have been 40 ft high and it was broad and bright and truly magnificent.
Some sights you only see once in a gardeners life and this was one such.

I am currently reading about Monet’s gardening life, I believe he would have loved our curtains and pillars of midsummer opulence .

Following my nose

Rain again…in fact a ferocious storm, with sheet lightening.
Further south from here the storms were terrible and many people were flooded. Here it was short and very sharp.  
Afterwards it was warm. The air was clear and is almost fizzing, washed clean.
What did people say - you could smell the ozone? 

That combination of warmth and rain liberated some of the earth smells and the newly mounded earth on the potatoes, felt warm and smelt spicy and earthy.
Walking on up the steps I can smell apples, it is the green sharp apple smell of Rosa rubiginosa, Sweet Briar or Elgantine. This rose has single pink flowers in June/July…and is pretty enough, but you should grow it for the wonderful scent of apples that follows a summer shower.

Close by is Madame Isaac Pereire, a full blown dark, dusky pink rose with the perfect old rose scent; and she is so generous with that scent that she perfumes the air around the blooms; intoxicating.

On through the woodland paths and the deciduous azaleas are still scenting the damp warm air, and as I go further up the steps there is that honey scented area. I have never been able to pin down exactly where that scent comes from, but it perfumes the air almost all year….maybe I'll stop looking and just accept it.
Around and on to the open hill side and the birch trees have that glorious peppery tang.
And this week I have been putting pots of night scented stock into corners near to where we will walk in the evenings. In 2 weeks I hope to smell their wonderful sweet-shop scent of the tiny stock flowers when I drive in around dark. Aahhhh.

My top five favourite garden smells: (for today)
1. Balsam poplar
2. Lily of the valley
3. Honeysuckle
4. Old roses
5. Dianthus Mrs Sinkins (And a sneeky number six -  Sweet peas - of course)
M Davidson
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