Planting for Fragrance
Terry L. Yockey
When we think of flowers, most of us associate them with our favorite fragrances. A problem with the newer varieties of flowers is the loss of scent. As they have made the blooms bigger and better, they have often lost the lovely fragrance of the old-fashioned flowers in our grandmother's gardens.
If you use your nose at the nursery, you can still fill your backyard with sweet aromas. There are fragrance plants for all times of the season. You can select from trees, shrubs, bulbs, and annual or perennial flowers.
The ideal place to locate fragrant plants is where you are the most. If you spend a lot of time on your patio or deck, plant the flowers in pots around your chairs and tables. Plants under your windows will waft their perfume into your home. Herbs release their scents when the leaves are brushed, so plant them along pathways or even between stepping stones. Remember, if you really like a fragrance, the more of that plant--the better!
tenuifolia)--Unlike the other marigolds, this one has a pleasant citrus scent. It is a good edging plant with a mounding form and is also an edible flower.
3. Carnation and Pinks (Dianthus spp.)--Nothing compares to the distinctive spicy fragrance of most Dianthus. I grow mine in pots so I can enjoy them wherever I'm sitting. Try growing the very sweet-scented biennial Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) under your rugosa shrub roses for fragrance to the max.
4. Scented Geranium (Pelargonium)--The best scented plants! There are zillions of different varieties and scents to choose from. My favorites are:
5. Mignonette (Roseda odorata)--One of my biggest failures. I haven't been able to get it to flower yet. This is supposedly one of the best fragrances in the garden. Plant the seeds where its going to grow (and hope for the best!).
6. Nicotiana (N. alata, N. sylvestris)--Tube-shaped blossoms that the hummingbirds love. The fragrance is most noticeable in the evening, so if you spend time outdoors after dusk then this is the flower for you. The dwarf 'Nikki' varieties have no scent at all.
There are many other plants that deserve a place in your fragrance garden. If you plan wisely, you can enjoy fragrance in your yard all summer long. Remember, smell before you buy!
"A Garden of Fragrance" by Suzy Bales. Hardcover - 192 pages (April 2000) Regan Books. The author shows you how to increase the aromatic impact of your garden no matter what the season. If you can not pass a flower without burying your face in it--this book is for you!
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