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Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.

~Heinrich Heine~

Scentsational Gardening

Do you consider color, height, and texture when you choose plants for your garden? Or, like me, you pick based on whatever grabs your attention as you are strolling through the nursery or browsing through the catalog? Would you believe, one year, I bought plants randomly and later on realized they were all purple! One whole section of my garden was just purple-blooming plants.

Here’s something to think about when selecting plants: Scent. Imagine sitting on your garden bench, or rocking gently in your hammock, and gazing at your fabulous flowers, watching birds and butterflies, while the air is filled with a scent more pleasant than any potpourri or perfume. Being greeted by a wonderful smell every time you step out your door is nice, too, almost like the garden is welcoming you.

While planting for fragrance is not rocket science, a little planning is helpful. Choosing flowers that bloom at different times will keep your garden filled with delightful scents all season. You may want to position flowers with especially pleasing scents near areas where you will sit to relax. For early spring flowering plants, consider Carolina jasmine, wallflower or iris to awaken your sense of smell.

If you have a patio or other area you spend time during the height of summer, you may want to plant a butterfly bush nearby for an attractive fragrance. Other nice summer season options are lavender, roses and daylilies. For the fall, angel trumpets, agastache and coneflowers are all beautiful bloomers that will tickle your nose in a nice way. Herbs like rosemary, lavender and thyme are great for scent throughout the growing season.

It’s fun to think about blooms that smell nice, but you might also give a moment’s thought to those that don’t smell so good, too. One year I planted lots of cilantro near our porch. The scent was overwhelming, and unfortunately, highly offensive to my husband. He couldn’t stand to sit on the porch at all for awhile and fussed about it every time he passed by. Now, I make sure the cilantro is far from anywhere he might choose to sit.

Container gardening, fences, trellises or other structures for vining plants lend themselves to fragrance-aware planting. With containers, you can simply move a plant to the area you want it, so you can fill the air wherever you are with the scent you choose. This year, I am going to try growing Ginger in a container with high hopes of a nice smell. Many vining plants are highly scented like moonflowers, sweetpeas, and of course, climbing roses. Arbors, gazebos and pergolas are even more fun when they smell nice.

The garden has something for all of your senses: the sight of plants, blooms and pathways, the feel of the soil and leaves, the taste of fresh berries, fruits and vegetables, the sound of birds attracted to the bright flowers, and the smells of the plants you carefully choose. Each gardener probably has his own favorite sensual aspect of gardening, but it never hurts to purposefully enjoy one you may not have focused on in the past. 

Our annual Spring Sale this year will be Saturday, May 7 from 9-3, and Sunday, May 8 from 12-4. We would love to meet you, learn more about your garden and show you some of the plants we enjoy for their wonderful scents.

Saturday, May 7th, 2009 and Sunday, May 8th
- Driveway Plant Sale -


April in the Garden:

: Wind Sculptures
Plant Perennials:
Frozen Drink Mix: