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The Fragrant Garden

lilacs 2A famous Roman poet once remarked to his friend that the perfume of his beloved was so fragrant it would make his friend wish that he was all nose. I often think of this when I walk through my garden on a warm summer day or in the evening when the fragrance of some plants is at its height. Planting a garden for fragrance is fun and rewarding. You don’t have to start a new garden, in fact, it is better if you don’t; what you really want to do is introduce fragrant plants through out your garden so the fragrances don’t compete or cover one another. Additionally, since bloom times vary, you may want to plan you garden so that you provide fragrant blossoms throughout the year.

Here is a list of my favorite fragrant plants. The list begins with fragrant flowers listed roughly by bloom time in zone 7. Next comes a list of plants that have fragrant foliage and therefore have an extended period of fragrance.

SPRING
Bulbs
Iris reticulata
Narcissus ‘Thalia’, ‘Actea’, ‘Hawera’, ‘Ice Wing’
Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
Lilies of the Valley (Convallaria major)
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)

Shrub
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Broom (Cytisus x dallimorei ‘Lena’ )
Peony (Peonia sp.) ‘Festiva Maxima’ (white), ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ (pink)
Roses(Rosa spp.) Roses vary significantly in fragrance, thorniness, and amount of extend of bloom time so look for roses that are fragrant, have no or few thorns and are “repeat” or “continuous” bloomers.

Tree
Citrus (Citrus spp. )not hardy inmost zones but worth growing in pots and over wintering inside

SUMMER
Bulbs
Oriental lilies such as Star Gazer and Casablanca

Annuals
Nicotiana sylvestris
Four o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa)
Wallflower Ersimum asperum, E. perofskianum)
Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Perennials
Day lily )Hemerocallis sp. ‘Hyperion’)
Plantain lily (Hosta plantaginea ‘Honeybells’, ‘Aphrodite’, ‘Royal Standard’)
Phlox paniculata ‘David’
Bouncing Bet (Saponaria officinalis)
Lavender( Lavendula spp.)

Vines
Moonvine (Ipomoea alba) continues into fall
Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)

Shrubs
Mock orange( Philadelphus coronaries)
Butterfly Bush( Buddleia davidii )continues into fall if deadheaded
Gardenia (Garden jasminoides)
Abelia x grandiflora ‘Compacta’

Tree
Mt. Etna broom (Genista aetnensis)

FALL
Perennial
Autumn snakeroot (Cimicifuga simplex)

Vine
Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora)

WINTER

Shrub
Daphne odora

Tree (small)
Witch hazels (Hamamelis mollis, H. vernalis and hybrids)

Some plants, including many herbs, have fragrant foliage if they are touched or lightly bruised and provide many months of fragrance. Place these at the front of the border so that you can easily touch the plants. These include:
Chamomile Anthemis tinctoria
Creeping Thyme Thymus serpyllum
Woolly Thyme Thymus praecox
Thyme Thymus vulgaris
Mint Mentha sp. (many cultivars)
Lemon balm Melissa officinalis
Basil Ocimum basilicum (many cultivars)
Lavender Lavendula sp
Lemon verbena Aloysia triphylla
Rosmary Rosmarinus officinalis
Scented geraniums Pelargonium spp.

And don’t forget the wonderful smell of a freshly cut lawn!