Most gardeners enjoy having fragrance in their garden, especially near walkways, windows and decks. Every gardener should love a fragrant flower, be it sweet, spicy or pungent musk.
With careful plant selection, any gardener can design and implement a flower garden which would provide attractive scents and aromas that could be appreciated from spring through fall.
For early spring, gardeners must select blooming bulbs if strong scent is what they desire. Iris Reticulate, Siberian Squill and Grape Hyacinth all offer sweet scent to the early garden and for larger blooms and powerful perfumes, plant traditionally full sized hyacinths which are known for their powerful and pleasant odors.
Early spring can also offer powerfully pleasant smells to a shady corner. Springtime in the woodland/ shade garden can produce wafting scents of lily of the valley, sweet violets, and a carpet of sweet woodruff.
As spring advances, numerous species of twiggy perennials, shrubs and trees come into bloom, many of which produce sweet aromas or powerful musk.
Most Newfoundland gardens should have no trouble producing the strong spring perfumes of lilacs, peonies, honeysuckles (vines and trees) and roses. These scented beauties can be placed in so many different environments and designs, as accents, single specimens, borders, or base bones for annuals.
In later spring and early summer one of the most aromatic species, Lavender, bursts into bloom. Placed along walkways, this twiggy perennial is excellent in any garden and can also be dried for use inside the home.
Annuals which start to bloom in early summer can also offer sweet smells to the garden. Sweet alyssum, Sweet peas, Nicotiana and Moonflower all offer strong floral scents that can be carried through a light breeze (or strong gust).
scented annuals, either in seed form or mature plant trays, be aware some are far more fragrant than others. It is important to note that labels often indicate the stronger scented varieties with nose shaped symbols on the front or descriptions on the back side of the tag.
There are numerous summer blooming perennial species that are favored for fragrance. Scented iris cultivars such as “ Royal Storm,” “ Vanity,” or “Midnight” are all popular fragrant summer bloomers.
Be aware, however, that blooms from Iris may not develop for a year or two after planting, depending on plant size.
Fragrant daylilies such as “Chorus Line,” and “Raspberry Candy” are always a good choice for our region as they are both hardy and relatively quick to develop. In a shady tree filled yard one could plant scented summer blooming Hosta varieties such as “ Honeybells,” “ Fragrant Blue,” “ Heaven Scent,” “ So Sweet,” and “Royal Standard”, three of which I grow now.
Border Phlox are the best late summer and fall blooming perennials for strong aromas and they come in almost every color imaginable. These species will also rebloom if deadheading is done quickly after the first blooms fade.
It is worth noting that foliage, like blooms, can also offer attractive sweet and spicy scents throughout the growing season.
Lemon verbena, sweet thyme, scented geraniums and herbs such as basil, rosemary and the above mentioned lavender can be placed throughout the garden and taken as potpourri cuttings for indoors, throughout the summer.
I grow thyme through the paths of my perennial border and as it is trampled, pleasant smells waft through the air.
I hope this short description of garden fragrance will provide Newfoundland and Labrador gardeners, inspiration and ideas for designing and planting a garden full of heavy fragrance, sweet perfume, and spicy aromas this growing season.
Remember a garden can and should appeal to as many of our senses as possible to create a more lasting impression to site visitors and of course to the gardeners themselves.
If you have any questions about gardening in Newfoundland and Labrador simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org