Fragrant plants are really important in the garden, because they appeal to more than one of our senses. Studies show that the sense of smell can be one of the most important in our life memories. Can you smell a turkey roasting and not think of happy holidays gone by? Or sweet vanilla and perhaps you think of learning to bake cookies as a child? Garden fragrance can be just as powerful. I know that I can’t smell honeysuckle without remembering a wonderful vacation spent by the Russian River in northern California… walking along stony lanes filled with it with my kids when they were small… So plant some fragrant flowers in your garden, near your patio where you read, or by a garden path for you to brush by. Or create memories for your children and plant a hedge of lilacs near their play area. Here are TGG’s fav fragrant flowers that flourish in most gardens, and how to grow them!
English Rose – English, or old fashioned roses are among the easiest roses to grow. Disease resistant and fragrant, they have casually shaped flowers and shrub form to 6 feet. Our pick is “Gertrude Jekyll”, a pink variety that is hardy to zone 5. It even tolerates some shade.
Lilac – Lilacs are my favorite flower ever. I once had one large shrub that filled my home with full and fragrant bouquets every spring, and I can still smell them. They come in both purple and white varieties, and love the sun. There are dwarf varieties available, and ones that grow to 20 feet. Hardy to zone 2, be aware some of the newer bi-colored varieties such as “Sensation” are not as fragrant, but still smell beautiful! There is NOTHING like an ol’ fashioned lilac bush!
Dianthus – Many varieties of this low growing favorite are highly fragrant. Hardy to zone 3, Dianthus are sun lovers that bloom in spring and early summer. They love well drained soil, and will be short lived in heavy soils that don’t drain well. Shear after flowering for repeat bloom.
Daphne – Daphne is a shrub that fills a yard with fragrance each spring. Our pick is “Carol Mackie” for its bi-colored leaves, but the best part is the pink, highly fragrant flowers. Hardy to zone 4, they will tolerate some shade, as they like their roots cool. Mulch in the sun. Grows to 3 feet.
Peony – Many peonies are fragrant, and gorgeous too! “Gardenia” is one of the most fragrant varieties. Want to learn more about peonies? Read our perfect peonies post.
Hyacinths – Hyacinths are a spring bulb that must be planted in the fall. Highly fragrant, they are often forced as winter indoor plants and gifts. Purples, pinks and whites.
Lavender – Lavender is easy to grow, drought resistant, and both the flowers and leaves are fragrant. When I go out into my garden, often I will pick a sprig of lavender to carry around and inhale the scent… its an immediate pick me up! Find out how to grow lavender.
Lastly, I can’t leave out my memory maker, Honeysuckle! Honeysuckle is the only vine on our list, and will quickly cover a fence or small building. In pink, yellow and red varieties, some types can be invasive in some areas, including Japanese Honeysuckles, which also happen to be one of my favs. (Halls Honeysuckle is a more restrained Japanese variety in soft yellow). Preferring well drained soil, they bloom in summer and are loved by butterflies and hummingbirds. Thrives to zone 4.
Image Credits: BHG, BHG, BHG, Blustone, Jackson Perkins, Country Living