Flowers for a Scented Garden

Written by danielle hill
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Flowers for a Scented Garden
Jasmine's white flowers give off an unmistakeably sweet aroma. (jasmine image by Maria Brzostowska from

When planning a scented garden, you can select from hundreds of species with fragrant blossoms. Take your local climate into account when selecting your plantings. Using native species whenever possible will help the garden to maintain itself with relatively little intervention, conserving water and labour. When designing the garden, keep an eye on colour; while scent may be your primary focus, keep things visually interesting, as well.

Scented and Edible

Many aromatic plants offer a secondary pleasure with edible flowers, leaves or fruits. Lilac adds a delicate flavour to candies and a delicate scent to any garden. Enjoy its purple, pink or white flowers in the springtime. Dianthus plants, also known as pinks, produce white, pink or red flowers with a slightly spicy, clove-like aroma and flavour. To extend your fragrant flower garden upwards, plant a small lemon or orange tree. In addition to its sweet-smelling blossoms, you can enjoy its fruit.

Aromatic Climbers

To add height and visual interest to your garden, plant climbing plants with aromatic flowers. Jasmine can grow as a shrub, but will grow as a vine if you lead it up a trellis or wall. The large flowers range in colour from white to yellow. Depending on your gardening plans for the winter months, you may select among evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous varieties of jasmine. Jasmine varieties also vary in aroma; look for a cultivar with especially fragrant blooms, such as the common jasmine, also known as poet's jasmine. Wisteria also take well to trellises and arbors, producing large cascades of scented flowers in intense purples and blues.

Perfumed Classics

For a traditional perfumed garden, choose from among hundreds of rose varieties. Scents vary widely, so it's best to select a cultivar from a nursery where you can sniff the flowers for yourself. The enormous range of possible colours includes white, pink, yellow, red and even peach or orange. Another classic for fragrance, white gardenias are synonymous with gardens of the southeastern United States. The large, creamy blossoms, set off by deep green, waxy leaves, give off an intense fragrance.

Scents to Attract Wildlife

If you'd like your aromatic garden to double as a haven for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds, select your perfumed plantings to attract the winged visitors. Plant bergamot, also known as bee balm or oswego tea, to attract butterflies and hummingbirds into your garden of scents. As an added benefit, you can use the delicate flavour of its flowers, ranging in colour from red to white to lavender, to flavour teas or infusions. Various species of the genus agastache also attract bees and butterflies with their tall spikes of aromatic flowers.

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