Gardening for All Your Senses: Plant a Fragrant Garden

By The Old House Web

Spring is here, and with it comes the sweet smell of fragrant flowers. Smell is one of the most evocative senses. A whiff of lilacs on a warm spring evening can transport you back to childhood; the heady fragrance of pristine white lilies-of-the-valley might remind you of your wedding bouquet. A garden filled with fragrant plants is much more than decoration for your yard--it is a repository for memories.

Sniffing Out Fragrant Plants

Gardeners often bemoan aggressive plant breeding programs that result in much larger flowers minus their natural scent. Keep in mind that old-fashioned varieties tend to offer the most strongly fragranced flowers. You can select fragrant plants that bloom at different times throughout the growing season, ensuring that your garden offers pleasing aromas from March through September.

A Few Beautifully Scented Options

  • Lily-of-the-Valley: Tiny racemes of fragrant bright white blossoms. The plants bloom in late spring and grow no more than 9 inches tall. They grow well in part-shade.
  • Sweet Peas: Sweet peas are vines, so you must provide poles or a trellis for them to ascend. Sweetly scented blossoms appear in early summer.
  • Heliotrope: The vibrant violet blossoms' fragrance is reminiscent of cherry pie. Heliotrope blooms mid through late summer and grows 12 to 15 inches tall.
  • Moonflower: The vines can grow to 15 feet. Moonflower's heavily scented flowers swirl open each evening and close up tight the following morning.

By making smart plant selections, you can ensure that your garden greets you with an aroma as complex and pleasing as a fine bottle of wine. Your garden will truly have its own unique bouquet.

About the Author

Kate McIntyre is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Oregon State University.

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