Nothing signals the arrival of summer like the sweet scent of honeysuckle. Come June and July this beautiful, highly perfumed plant comes alive in our gardens and hedgerows, and its white flowers are perfect for training over pergolas and archways, filling the outdoors with its rich aroma. For me, the smell of honeysuckle also brings with it a real sense of nostalgia – my mum grew a honeysuckle outside the front door when we were growing up, so its scent reminds me of long and happy summer days.
Interestingly,the botanical reason behind the strong smell is to attract moths which pollinate the plant, hence its increased fragrance as the sunlight fades and night falls.
My love for honeysuckle meant I was particularly overjoyed this week to discover a new and very delicious smelling Wild Honeysuckle and Rose candle – part of a new Home Fragrance range launched by Dobbies Garden Centres earlier this month. Created by an expert team, Dobbies has taken inspiration from nature and the great outdoors by launching the new collection, which includes candles and diffusers in six different scents; Jasmine and Cedarwood; Fresh Cherries and Vanilla; Lavendar and Chamomile; Mandarin and Peach; Oriental Orchid and Mimosa.
For me the Wild Honeysuckle & Rose evokes a classic country garden charm and will ensure my home smell delicious far in advance of the real honeysuckle season arriving later this summer.
If that’s got you thinking of the arrival of summer, why not grow some honeysuckle yourself? It’s a simple plant to grow, and any gardener can grow it, even if your garden consists only of a pot or two and a wall or fence to support it. Wild honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum, works especially well in a town back garden as it prefers some shade. This plant needs warmth rather than direct sunlight to bring out the best of its scent, and a west-facing urban wall is ideal.
Honeysuckle is also the perfect plant to grow to encourage wildlife into your garden. The flowers start white but turn yellow after they have been pollinated and eventually bear round red fruits which are excellent food for songbirds. The tangle of stems makes excellent cover for nests and they are excellent in the garden as part of a healthy ecosystem.
To get the best from a honeysuckle in your garden, plant it so that the base is cool and well mulched and provide it with a good cane structure or willow frame to give it climbing support. An hour or two of sunshine in late afternoon, to heat up the oils in the flowers, will capture the evening fragrance.
Most importantly, plant it next to a door, window or an area you’ll frequently relax in, to enjoy its scent to the max.
If you can’t wait that long, I’d strongly recommend purchasing one of the Dobbies candles to bring it into your home all year round. Please visit the Dobbies website for more details and to view the whole range.
Most importantly, enjoy!