The Fragrant Garden The Fragrant Garden
Although the actual flower usually contains the aromatic scent, in some cases, it is the leaves, roots, bark or seeds that may contain the fragrance. Also, not all plants and flowers emit a fragrance or emit one that is pleasing to smell. Self-fertile plants - those that do not require the pollen from another plant - are seldom fragrant. It seems nature has not endowed these varieties with a pleasant scent because they do not need it. Plants that have strong scents need them to attract insects that perform the work of pollinating a multitude of flowers. That said there are several groups of plants that are endowed with pleasing fragrance.
While there are countless perfumes and aromas emitted by plants, there are only ten groups in the flowering plant world that contain fragrance (and three of these produce unpleasant odor so they will not be discussed). Leaf fragrance is contained by only four groups. Perhaps most famous of all the fragrant flowers is the rose group. This group is followed by the violet group, aromatic group (almond, vanilla, sweet-pea), lemon group (verbena, evening primrose), heavy group (lilac, jonquil, lily-of-the-valley), fruit-scented (apricot, apple, orange) and honey groups (honeysuckle).
Aromatic leaf groups include the mint group, camphor and eucalyptus group, sulphur group (onions, watercress, garlic) and turpentine group (rosemary). Fragrant bark groups include the aromatic group (cinnamon tree) and turpentine group (cedar trees).
When considering fragrant plants to grow, try to choose a selection of plants that bloom at different times in the growing season so that you will have continued fragrance. From early spring to late autumn, scent-producing plants can fill every week of the growing season with fragrant smells - not to mention fulfill a visual function too making your garden both fragrant and lovely.
There are many beautiful spring-flowering plants that are as fragrant as they are beautiful. Iris and peony seem most at home in a cottage garden setting. Bulbs such as hyacinths and jonquils are a must for a fragrant garden. Viola and lily-of-the-valley are also pleasant-smelling spring-flowering plants. For scented trees and shrubs consider, lilac and magnolia. For early summer, consider late-blooming bulbs like lilies or honeysuckle and summer jasmine. Wild carnations are also lovely and sweet-smelling.
Summer, of course, is a highpoint in the garden - for fragrance as well. Lush old-fashioned climbing roses like the wild tea rose are breathtaking and their perfume is a delight. Verbena, heliotrope, petunia, and sweet-pea are just a few other recommendations, however, there are so many to choose from that one must select according to personal taste. As for the fall, camellia flowers late and is also easy to care for. Clematis would be another good choice for the fall.
Of course, you can maintain a fragrant garden that is also multi-tasking. Garden herbs add foliage and fragrance to the garden, but they also have culinary ambitions. Mint, rosemary and thyme have pleasant fragrances and are often used in the kitchen to flavor hundreds of different recipes. Sage, marjoram, dill and lemon balm would also be great choices for fragrant herbs in your garden.
A further consideration for your fragrant plants is to dry them for various indoor uses such as making potpourri or other garden crafts. Or, you can learn how to extract scent from your plants for use in homemade perfume, soaps and bath oils.
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