Thursday 10 June 2021

Essence of white

I am rather obsessed with white flowers, I usually surprise the plant growers around here when I don’t want to buy a cheery selection of different coloured geraniums, begonias or mandevilla for my summer pots, I want only white.  This year I decided to have a change, I have pink, purple and red flowers, a garish but striking Mediterranean collection on the terrace and I like it.

However I still love white and right now I’m enjoying these lovely white shrubs

I have two Trachelospermum jasminoides, the star jasmine, in the lower garden that I’ve trained up onto either end of the balcony.  They are just starting to flower and smell wonderful particularly at night.

Also in the lower garden is a large Philadelphus, possible belle etoile, which is also highly perfumed.  I prune it right back after flowering but it’s enormous.

I usually step out last thing at night to enjoy the cooler air and the heady scents drifting around and again first thing in the morning, the perfumes are wonderful.

Before you imagine this balmy idyll I need to mention that we also have three screech owls that circle the balcony after dark, screaming their bloomin heads off. The first time we heard them we thought it was an injured animal, we realised it was birds but had to listen to a few podcasts before we identified the call. The sound doesn’t bother us or the cats, we are pleased to have the owls here but sitting out till late in high summer breathing in the heavenly scents may not quite as calm as it should be.


  1. Screech owls make the most unsettling noise and even though we now know what it is it's still unnerving. When we had the little house in the village they would swoop around the château and nearby houses for hours and sleep was impossible.

  2. I adore white flowers, I also love yellow roses which always remind me of my mum.

  3. I love the scent of my philadelphus which I always smell before seeing when it is in flower. At present I’m waiting for it to explode into bloom (and perfume).

  4. It always seems to be that white shrubs have the most striking perfume.

  5. I don't think I have any whites in my garden palette - lots of pastels and just a few strong shades. Bird song (even screech owls) is always appreciated around here.

  6. I have a Philadelphus in my garden too and the scent is gorgeous. No owls here, but I've heard a cuckoo quite a lot this spring which has been a real treat.