The Scented Garden - Honeysuckle


There are about 180 species of honeysuckle, 100 of which occur in China.  Many of the species produce a sweet edible nectar.  The breaking of the honeysuckle stem will release this powerful sweet odour.

Surely this is the best known of cottage garden climbers.  Well loved for its sweetly fragrant tubular flowers, this classic climbing honeysuckle is ideal for covering walls and fences, or romping through mature shrubs and trees.  Bees and butterflies love the nectar rich flowers, which are followed by round red berries that attract birds in late summer.

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I have this one twining through the ivy on the front of the house - the common name for it is Woodbine but the genus Lonicera is named in honour of Adamus Lonicerus (or Adam Lonicer) who was a German Renaissance Botanist whose first important work on herbs, the Krauterbuck was published in 1557.


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Adam Lonicer
The blossom of the Wild Woodbine can be collected to make Honeysuckle Jelly (see recipe here)

There was an old Music Hall song written about Honeysuckle in 1901 called The Honeysuckle and the Bee.

Honeysuckle is an important source for nectar loving insects and the smell of wild honeysuckle is intoxicating, especially on a warm summers evening when it is pollinated by night flying moths.

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Monty Don says:-
One of the greatest joys of living in the British countryside at this time of year is the heady tangle of fragrances along country lanes flanked by hedgerows. We gardeners carefully cultivate plants for their scent but I like 'free' fragrances that suddenly enter one's world as much as any, and the best of these wild smells undoubtedly comes from the Honeysuckle which is found sprawling and creeping along the hedgerows for mile after fragrant mile. read more of this article here

Samuel Pepys wrote:-  "The bugles blow scent instead of sound" - he called it the trumpet flower.

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Comments

  1. Hi Elaine, Interesting post! Honeysuckle jelly! I'd like to try that. Does the jelly have a slightly floral note to it? I love the fairy artwork. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Hi Jennifer - yes it does a bit like honey.

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  2. Just love this and by coincidence planning to do one about the Honeysuckle too, great information here, thanks:~)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it - look forward to reading your post

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  3. As Jennifer says an interesting post, and good pictures. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks Flighty - I like researching this sort of post - I wrote this one then pressed the wrong key and deleted it and had to start all over again - silly me!

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  4. I love the smell of honeysuckle. Around here one of the honeysuckles is very invasive choking out trees and native plants but it just smell so good. LOL!

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    1. I love it when I find it growing wild - the cultivated species aren't quite that bad but smell just as sweet.

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  5. Honeysuckle jelly sounds delicious. What would you serve it with? Loved this post, gorgeous photographs. I could almost smell the honeysuckle!

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    1. Hi Alex - thank you for visiting my blog - you would use the jelly in much the same way you use honey.

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  6. A great post! Honeysuckles are so terrific and keep the hummingbirds close by!

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    1. We don't have hummingbirds but plenty of other insects enjoy them.

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  7. I failed miserably to grow honeysuckle in my own garden. It always looked manky and mildewy so it is nice to have robust ones at the Priory. The 'free fragrance' that is filling the gardens at the moment is meadowsweet. Lovely. Dave

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    1. Oh I used to have meadowsweet but it started to colonise the whole garden - so it had to go but it was certainly fragrant - now if I want a hit I have to go down to the canal for it.

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  8. I love Honeysuckle! It is on one side of the archway going into the veg garden. If you pull off one of the little trumpets and suck on the base of the flower you will get some delicious honey like nectar.

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    1. No wonder the insects like it so much - (next time I want a sugar hit I'll give it a try) ha ha

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. Ok now I'm just confusing you. The above comment was written by me, Diane from My Cottage Garden. I didn't realize i was signed on to my family blog, which you won't be able to reply to. And now i forget my password.

    If you want me to forward the spam, posy a message on my blog or email me at mycottagegarden@hotmail.ca

    Sorry for the confusion.

    Your recently absent blog follower from Canada.
    Diane

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  11. I came along your blog and love your cottage garden, I was surprised about the honeysuckle jelly, I have to make that, I've lots of honeysuckle in my garden.
    I'll be your new follower!
    Happy weekend, Janneke

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    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and glad you enjoyed it - looking forward to seeing some of your posts.

      Have a good weekend.

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