By Bec Wenzel
Flowers are lovely. You walk by one in the garden, you feel happy. You notice some pretty annuals on your morning commute to work, they’re nice to sit by on your lunch break or while having your morning coffee. But what would make this better? What could possibly add a smile on top of that good feeling? If those gorgeous flowers had a gorgeous scent of course.
We all associate flowers with fragrance but far from all flowers are actually as fragrant as we would like them to be, and it’s not all about flowers either, what about those stunning lemony aromas or the herbs that you just can’t get enough of.
Kids just seem to adore smelling beautiful scents from the garden. What if we could make our garden a scented one for them and for us, scents that take us back to our childhood and create some fragrant memories for the little ones too. You can plan to have fragrant plants around play areas, living spaces and pathways. Remember different plants may flower at different times of the year so you can have a different scent every season. Cut flowers also make great natural air fresheners for the home.
Might not seem as gloomy if you get a breeze blow in the sweet smell of the daphne bush. It’s true it is nothing new but you really can’t go wrong with some old favourites. Daphne is a compact, evergreen shrub so it’s perfect for smaller spaces, part shade is best for this attractive shrub, good drainage and acidic soil is a must. My advice would be make sure you know where you want it to live for a long time because they really don’t like to be transplanted. There is some newer varieties becoming very popular in the garden centres. Daphne “eternal fragrance and “perfume princess” which are more sun tolerant and flower over a longer period of time. Other great winter plants are michelia, magnolia, boronia and wintersweet. I’m a big fan of michelias as they make a stunning display, can add height to the garden, are good specimen trees and can also make a spectacular hedge. A great bedding option for winter is stock as they come in an array of colours, double and single flowers and I just can’t get enough of the sweet fragrance.
Is full of so much choice and its usually when everything starts to burst into colour so it’s a great time to be out in the garden. A few plants I enjoy for their pleasant aromas are gardenia. I prefer the compact varieties for my smaller garden, “fragrant star” and “radicans” are a great option, but there is some upright taller varieties available. The flowers are usually white or cream and the smell is simply gorgeous. Heliotrope is a perennial that I love because it has deep purple flowers, I can’t resist the bubblegum smell, although I’ve heard others describe it as vanilla. It’s very distinct and I think it will be one the kids will love. Sweetpea, viburnum, lilac, freesia and roses are also great choices. Try sweetpeas hanging from a hanging basket or container rather than using a climbing frame.
Brings heat and with the heat the smell of dianthus. The heavenly scent of the dianthus flower “memories” is my favourite. I love the name, the smell and the pure white double blooms. I also enjoy the heaven scent series and these are truly a beginner green thumbs choice of plant. Many of the spring flowers will carry over to summer. Lavender is a heat loving plant and will really put on a show over this period, English lavenders are the best lavender for drying and using in food preparation. Rosemary will bloom with gorgeous blue flowers and citrus flowers are soft and fresh. Star jasmine is a gorgeous climber that really shows off in summer, it can make a statement in a highly visible location.
The time we start to wind down and get ready for the winter period, fill the garden with the fragrance of roses before they reach their dormancy period. Choisya, dianthus, heliotrope and stock should still give you some amazing scents and colour.
My useful fragrance garden tips are:
- Use standardised plants or specimen trees down pathways so they are at a good height to take in the aroma.
- Use prostrate herbs on pathways or garden edges, try lemon or woolly thyme and lawn chamomile.
- If you plant in containers, you can move them around to get more out of the fragrance and positioning.
- Use herbs dotted amongst your ornamentals. Try lemon verbena for a strong lemon scent. Personally, I love the smell of basil and it’s even better when I can use it in cooking too.
- Have some bedding flowers and plants at children’s reach so they can enjoy the wonderful world of fragrance too.