29 Jun 2022

Take time out to smell the flowers


It is too easy to forget how sweetly some flowers smell, particularly when they are early bloomers

I walked into the sitting room this morning and caught a sniff of something lovely - a slight hint of flower shop.

Before I gave it any more thought, it vanished. A few moments later it again wafted past - and again disappeared before it registered properly.

Another wave of it and I smelled my hands. Was it the soap just used? No. It disappeared again and I went on my way. About to leave the room, I caught it again and thought I need to find the source. Where was that delicious smell coming from?

At the other side of the room, a small little glass bottle with three minuscule flower stems stood on a side board. I had brought them into the house yesterday. (They had been growing in pots and these three stems had been blown over in the wind.) Such a perfume from such a tiny array.

It was three stems of the daffodil, Narcissus ‘Martinette’. Bought for small money in the supermarket last September, an ‘on the way to the counter’ impulse buy.

Planted into two litre pots, I thought I would transfer them into the ground at some point over the winter. I forgot to do that and they grew in their pots.

The next thing was that the stems were about 45 cm tall and too tall to be moved. I gathered them by a window, so I could see them as they began to flower. But being tall, some keeled over in the wind and I brought them in.

It is too easy to forget how sweetly some flowers smell, particularly when they are early bloomers.

If your spring scented flowers are situated away from the front or back door, at a distance from the path to the front gate or washing line, you can forget that they are scented.

There they are, doing their thing with gusto and you go about your business, unaware of just how fabulous they are.

I had forgotten about these babies until I brought them into the house. The three stems on my sideboard carry seven little flowers, deep yellow with orange central cups of pure scented delight. The biggest splash of shop bought lilies would fade into insignificance beside these pint-sized power house blooms.

I need to remind myself of this so I have moved the pots. They are now by the front door – with a little label attached reminding me that these are the best scented flowers in the universe.

When the flowers die off and the bulbs die down I will be reminded by the label so I not forget that scent. I will transplant them into the ground – by the front door where they will be future, permanent stars.

The lesson is to always act at the point when you remember that a particular job needs doing. Swift action sees the garden doing well and developing nicely while putting off little tweaks sees it missing out and ending up that bit more boring.

Unfortunately when it comes to pollinating insects and bees, many daffodils are of little use. The wild daff, Narcissus pseudonarcissus is the exception. This easy, pretty spring flower is a welcome food source for early bees.

If you already have some, well and good. If you have not, try to acquire a few bulbs. Plant them into a rough patch of grass. They will do well in heavy and even wet ground and are easy to mind.

So, on the policy of one for you, one for bee, growing these makes up for the fact that you also grow other sweetly scented if bee-useless daffs.

Free Garden Talks

Next Tuesday (March 24) will see the first of this years’ Free Garden Talks in Kilkenny Castle. The talks will run each Tuesday until early May with one break for the Tuesday after Easter Sunday.

The first talk will be given by Alan Ryan from the Colclough Walled Garden at Tintern Abbey in the most intriguing historic corner of south Wexford.

Many garden visitors will have come across this fascinating garden over the past few years. It is one of the most interesting restorations ever carried out in the country, almost completely as a result of volunteer endeavour.

The story of how it came about is a compelling one: The garden, attached to the old house and abbey was lost and almost completely forgotten until a few years ago, when local man Alan Ryan made a discovery and set the restoration ball in motion.

Alan will tell the story of the discovery and rescue of this great organic garden. Anyone interested in organic and productive gardening will be particularly interested. Bring a note book. There is much to be learned from how Colclough is worked.

The tickets can be picked up at the door of the Castle from 7.30pm on the day.

For any further information contact or

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