Spring and summer are the seasons to truly appreciate the flowers in your garden. Of course, they look beautiful and attract plenty of garden friends that help the environment too. But there is one character they provide that may be overlooked in favour of their beauty – scent.
So many flowers release intoxicating scents that upgrade the experience in your garden dramatically. These scents are the inspiration for the thousands of perfumes and sprays we cover our bodies and homes in, so what could be better than the real thing? Ensure you have at least one of these six plants in your garden for the ultimate sensory feature.
A classic flower that has spawned millions of devoted followers and several societies dedicated to their appreciation and preservation, the rose is a must-have in any scented garden. If they weren’t, the phrase ‘stop and smell the roses’ wouldn’t be a cliché. When planted en masse, roses fill the air with a sweet scent unlike any other flower. When planting one, you may have to get up close and personal to appreciate the fragrance, but it will certainly be just as special.
Another classic floral scent, and a great companion for roses, is the humble lavender. Very few gardeners can resist this bushy plant covered in hundreds of small purple flowers that not only look fantastic, but smell great too. Walk past a lavender bush and you can’t help crush a few leaves between your fingers or pull the flowers up to your nose. Few need more convincing than that, but they do come with the added benefit of holding their scent when dried, making them ideal candidates for potpourri.
Take a look at the descriptions in any perfume store and you are bound to see gardenia more than a few times. This popular scent is captivating, and the flowers have a remarkable ability to permeate the air in your garden. Depending on which gardenias you choose, your garden could be filled with their fragrance from spring all the way into autumn. Alternatively, cut them off their stalks and bring them indoors to fill your home with their scent from a decorative cut flower vase.
A fragrant plant that doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves is sweet alyssum. It’s prized for its ability to fill containers, cascade over the sides of hanging baskets, or act as a ground cover, making it the perfect companion plant. It is less well known for its stunning scent that is – as the name describes – incredibly sweet. Sweet could also describe the small blooms that grace our gardens twice a year in spring and again in autumn.
Those who favour more tropical scents over the delicate, creamy ones mentioned before will appreciate jasmine. This climber will cover fences, archways, and trellises to sport bright white flowers in late spring and into summer. The scent is so strong, due to the hundreds of flowers and vigorous growth of this plant, that it is bound to become your garden’s signature scent.
This list would be incomplete without at least one tree, and from the many to choose from, we have to opt for magnolias. Magnolias are truly magnificent, from the size of the flowers to the shade of the foliage. But where it really stands out is in scent. A mix of tropical, sweet and floral, towering magnolia trees make a sensory statement wherever they are planted.