Fragrance in the Garden

This copyrighted post, “Fragrance in the Garden” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

I have often thought of how important the senses are in gardening.  Sight, of course, comes to mind first.  All the pretty flowers, colorful foliage, and textures are a feast for our eyes.  Sound, too, is in our gardens with chirping birds, water features, and the wind rustling through the trees and the occasional wind chime.  The sense of touch is satisfied by fingering the different textures of plants and flowers.  Who can resist walking by lambs ears without stroking the leaves?

But, this morning, the sense of smell was the one that captured my attention.  As I was walking by the blooming Easter lilies, I caught a whiff of their wonderful fragrance.  Of course, it made me stop and lean over for a deeper whiff.  I guess I forgot how aromatic they are.

Some hints for intensifying scents in the garden are to place fragrant plants in a protected area away from winds, place aromatic foliage plants near a path or front of the border so the leaves can be easily rubbed, and place fragrant plants near doorways, open window, and sitting areas so that they can be enjoyed more.  Remember that some plants are fragrant at night, such as night blooming jessamine (cestrum nocturnum) or flowering tobacco.  There is no point in having those plants if you are never around when they are releasing their pleasant smell.

Fragrant flowers are fairly easy to incorporate into our gardens.  There are roses, lilies, nicotina, gardenias, etc.  Aromatic foliage plants that I particularly like are lemon verbena, lemon thyme, rosemary, curry, and pineapple sage.

Year round fragrance is a goal of mine.  In late winter there is sweet olive, winter honeysuckle, and sweet almond shrub.  These are followed by all the jasmines, esp. star jasmine and magnolias.  When spring is in full swing and in summer, too, there are innumerable flowers, vines, and shrubs scenting our gardens.  In the fall, there is sweet autumn clematis, Russian sage, autumn witch hazel to name a few.

Fragrance not only makes for a pleasant experience, but it creates atmosphere, and also conjures up memories.  I know I cannot smell gardenias without thinking of my daughter as a baby.

Whether subtle or intense, fragrance is important for making our gardens and gardening even more pleasurable.  Think about it.  What are some of your favorite plants that appeal to the sense of smell?

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3 Comments

  1. Nancy Bond said,

    May 17, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    So many delectable smells comes to mind — mock orange, roses, lily of the valley, carnations — just a few that immediately come to mind. And all of them have their own memories attached to them. Great point!

  2. Amy said,

    May 17, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    What an excellent post – this is an aspect of gardening that I hadn’t really considered. Now that I think about it there are certain plants whose fragrance I enjoy very much 🙂

  3. Jan said,

    May 18, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks, Nancy, for listing some of the flowers that you enjoy.

    Thanks, Amy. The sense of smell can be the most powerful, but often we just do not pay attention. There are many flowers I wish had fragrance, such as hydrangeas.


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