Aromatic plants are known to improve our moods and give us a feeling of well-being.
Growing a fragrant garden can create a place where we can relax and refresh using our senses of smell.
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Aromas are expressed in different ways. Some herbs release their fragrance when you touch the plant, while other flowers have a strong scent without being touched.
Some botanicals need to be broken up or scratched to release their scent.
It is important to consider this when designing a garden that will be full of scents without having to manipulate the plants or process them to enjoy them.
We’ll discuss seasonal themes, the best-smelling plants, and some essentials for your scented garden.
Discover various annuals, perennials, and shrubs that will enhance the fragrance of your garden.
How can plants affect our mood?
We can also experience the healing effects of plants through our senses of smell.
Aromatherapy wouldn’t exist without these aromatic allies!
Aromatherapy is a primary tool that uses essential oils from these plants.
By relying on the essential oils in bottles, we miss out on the other elements that are connected to the plant and contribute to its overall scent.
According to a study from 2022 by Phoebe Bentley and Jessica Fisher. al. Published in Ambio: a journal of environment and society, the smells of nature can positively influence physical well-being.
I like to feature plants that bring back memories, along with those that are known for their medicinal benefits. For example, I planted sweet violets in memory of my grandmother, who used to wear perfume that resembled the flowers.
Get creative and plant what brings you happiness and peace.
Consider native plants first.
Many native plants are aromatic, especially when you consider our local ecosystems!
My favorites include native perennials in California like Brickellia Calfornica, Salvia Apiana Artemisia Calfornica, and Rosa California.
The sagebrush also smells great here after rain! This was the first native plant I chose to add to our landscaping to enjoy that post-rain sagebrush smell right outside my door.
Visit a local trail at different times of the year to see what is fragrant.
The ceanothus blooms are all over the Los Angeles nature trails. The sweet smell is intoxicating and heralds spring.
Include native plants in your garden, no matter where you live.
The birds and beneficial insects they attract to the ecosystems are a great foundation for any garden design.
In general, fall or early Spring is the best time of year to introduce native perennials to your landscape.
Read up on the selections you make so that you know how to prepare your planting area before sowing seeds or transplanting.
A Seasonal Approach
We’ll go through each season by highlighting shrubs, plants, herbs, flowers, and trees that are fragrant and worthy of being included in a scented flower garden.
This book by Isabel Bannerman has inspired my appreciation and design of scented gardens.
It is inspiring to read about another gardener’s delight in the wonders of fragrance plants.
The stunning photography complements the beautiful and wise expressions.
Amazon offers a copy for you to purchase.
Winter scents are especially strong when the sun is shining brightly, and we choose to go outside. They give us hope that warmer and sunnier days will soon arrive.
The season’s lack of color, with only a few plants emitting their scent, can create a striking impression.
The winter is a time when many perennials and annuals are at their best. Evergreens such as Juniper and Cypress are the first to come to mind.
They are uplifting and comforting with their bright, woody notes. There are also dwarf varieties to fit into almost any space.
You can grow ‘Carolina Sapphire,’ a cultivar from Arizona cypress Hesperocyparisarizonica, in a pot. It is also heat and drought-resistant.
I like to cup my hands around a group of needles and press them before taking a deep breath through my nose. It’s a very refreshing feeling!
This winter, a fellow gardener gave me a sweet violet. They have already started blooming in my area. The powerful scent that their tiny flowers emit is amazing. They are soothing and comforting.
The leaves are a vivid green and remind me of the lush fields that will be in bloom soon.
Spring’s heavy and light florals are in full bloom as the temperatures begin to rise!
There are many options, including lilacs, magnolias, jasmines, sweet peas, and hyacinths.
Sweet peas, the annual plant mentioned here, should be propagated from late winter to early Spring.
Planting spring-flowering bulbs, such as narcissus or hyacinths, in the fall is a good idea.
If you do not have enough space to grow lilacs and jasmines, Gardenia can be grown in a pot.
You can plant a compact cultivar of Gardenia called Jubilation ™ in a container that is medium or large. It will reach a height of three to four feet and a width of three feet.
Planting Tree sells the beautiful G. Planting Tree sells the jasminoides “Leeone,” as it’s also known.
They also provide a strong fragrance when they bloom.
We spend more time in our garden as the weather improves. This is why I love to plant the plants that will be most beautiful this season.
I also tend to choose species that attract pollinators, which adds life to my garden and supports local ecosystems.