What’s the first thing that comes to mind and makes you smile when you think about your garden? Is it the vivid colors that add vibrance and beauty to your yard? The hum of bees and hummingbirds buzzing from flower to flower as they pollinate your garden beds while searching for food? Or, is it the bouquet of sweet-smelling fragrances that perfume your outdoor space when your garden comes to bloom each year? If you’re like me, it’s probably a mix of all three!
It can be easy to overlook the importance of fragrance when we plan our gardens but it’s hard to overestimate the level of enjoyment the fresh smells of flowers can add to our garden spaces!
Smell is the sense that most powerfully evokes memories of happy times, people and places from our past. The practice of aromatherapy shows that fragrant smells can improve our sense of peace and relaxation as well as emotional and spiritual well-being!
Maybe this is why the old adage instructs us to “stop and smell the flowers” sometimes? Perhaps this is why so many people like spending as much time as possible in their garden retreats and think of them as their “happy places!”
Flower fragrances also attract helpful pollinators to your garden, often while having the added bonus of repelling harmful pests.
Planning For Scent
The plants in our gardens contain a huge variety of shapes and colors as well as the variety of fragrances they produce! How do we describe their smells? Well, there are: Floral (such as lilies, peonies and Jasmine); Fresh (Lavender, mint, citrus); Spicy (roses, sage, carnations) and Woodsy (rosemary, cedar).
Many essential oils are extracted from these plants for use in aromatherapy, food and drink flavoring, and soaps and perfumes. As we all have our own unique tastes and aroma preferences, when planning your garden, choose flowers with the fragrances YOU love!
Different flowers release their fragrances at different times: some are fragrant at night; some are most aromatic during the heat of the daytime; and some when they are brushed up against or crushed under foot. A well-planned garden includes flowers that bloom at different times to ensure beds are bursting with color all season long.
By the same token, fragrant plants release their smells at different times as well, so a well-planned garden will provide aromatic interest throughout the season! Design your fragrance garden with this principle in mind and you’ll enjoy an aromatic bouquet all year long.
Ideas For Your Garden
One perennial that has been praised for its fragrant quality throughout history is Lavender! The ancient Egyptians distilled Lavender to extract its aromatic oils and during the time of the Roman Empire it was used for perfuming baths, bodies and clothing. This aromatic flower is a perfect addition to garden beds as well!
Lavandula Blue Cushion is a lavender that flowers from early to late summer, making it a great late-blooming choice for your garden. Its calming fragrance will help make your garden a serene respite throughout the season.
Another great choice for your fragrance garden is Polemonium Bressingham Purple! This lovely flower, commonly known as Jacob’s Ladder, blooms purplish-blue flowers in late spring/early summer and fills your garden space with the pleasant smell of aromatic grape!
Looking for a spicier-smelling addition to your garden? Many varieties of Dianthus emit a fresh clove fragrance that has the added benefit of keeping squirrels, deer and other critters away from your garden beds. If you enjoy the scent of vanilla, try adding some fragrant Phlox to your beds.
There really are multitudes of amazing, natural flower fragrances that can add another dimension of enjoyment to your garden space. With a little planning, you can ensure your garden will be a treat for the nose (as well as the eyes) of everyone who enjoys her!
Rozanne’s Garden Designs
Looking for further ideas on how to plan a garden space that will include lovely smells all season long? Check out the ‘Fragrance Filled Retreat’ Garden Design Plan here for more ideas on how to create an aromatic oasis you can enjoy in the coming months.
Are you ready to get outside and get your hands dirty? What are some of the garden fragrances you’d like to try this year?