Planting a Scent Garden Planting a Scent Garden

As with color, fragrance in a garden can be actively planned or left to chance. If you want your garden to be romantic, fragrance is a key ingredient. However, just like color, fragrance can be experienced in different intensities.

There are two distinct ways that plants give off fragrance.

  • Through foliage that is aromatic when oils are released by brushing, crushing or heat. These include chamomile, lavender, artimisia and rosemary.
  • Through flowers that give off fragrance as they open, such as honeysuckle, roses, mahonia and philadelphus.

Keep in mind that research has found a link between flower scent and allergies. Keep this in mind when planting your scent garden.

The time of year is important when planning a scent garden. Some plants produce fragrance all year, depending on their flowers and foliage. Remember that many fragrant plants are evergreen. Choose fragrant plants of different kinds in order to have scent in your garden twelve months of the year.

Here are a few suggestions:

Spring - wisteria, clematis armandii, rhododendron.

Summer - jasmine, roses, philadelphus.

Fall - mytrus communis, itea llecifolia, clematis flammula.

Winter - witch hazel, Christmas box, sarcococca.

Since plants produce scents at different times of the year, plant them in an area where you can enjoy them. Create tiers of scent by planting species from the following groups:
  • Bulbs
  • Annuals
  • Climbers
  • Shrubs
  • Trees

Planting in tiers and choosing scented plants for different seasons will assure a good balance of fragrance in your garden. Chamomile, Pennyroyal and thyme can be planted between stepping and patio stones so their scent will be released when stepped on. The heat created by the stones in the summer months will also release scent into the air.

Plant fragrant plant species in different flowerbeds to attract butterflies, birds and insects into your yard. Different scents also reflect different moods and lifestyles. Include fragrant plants in beds near doors, walkways and windows. These will give off scents in all seasons and you will be able to drink fragrance from your garden at all times of the year.

Scented plants for the garden can be classified into categories much like perfumes.
  • Herbal - mint
  • Musk - basil and azaleas
  • Honey/almond - tree basil
  • Vanilla - magnolia.
  • Lemon - lippia
  • Rose - roses and jasmine

Fragrance in the garden can conjure up reflections of exotic places. For instance, citrus brings thoughts of the Mediterranean. Cedar makes one think of a wooded glen. If you have a favorite place where you have vacationed, think about planting a plant species that is native to that location. The fragrance from your garden can bring back pleasant memories.

Once your scented garden is established, sit back, relax and enjoy all of your favorite fragrances. A scented garden is balm for the soul.

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