I’m working on a project right now for a client who wants to make sure that fragrance is a prominent element in his new garden. There are a lot of factors that I evaluate when selecting plants for a project; sun preference, hardiness, color, size, form and ornamental characteristics; but I’m finding that fragrance is an especially fun design element to work with.
For me, there are different types of fragrances; the stop you in your tracks perfume, the nostalgic fragrance that reminds you of a particular place or time, and the scent that is welcome because of its unexpectedness.
With these considerations in mind, here are a few of my favorite selections for introducing fragrance into your garden.
|Hamamelis ‘Arnold Promise’|
I think witchhazel falls into the unexpected category because it blooms from February to March when the landscape is otherwise devoid of color and fragrance. The scent of this small tree/shrub is fresh and lemony.
In spring time, my two favorite shrubs for fragrance are Korean spice viburnum and lilac. The first has a wonderful, spicy perfume (plant one near a window or door so the scent can waft in on a mild day). The scent of lilac is one that induces nostalgia. We had lilac at my house growing up, and that scent reminds me of home. Though the bloom is fleeting, there is nothing like a bunch of fresh cut lilacs.
In the middle of summer, one of the most unexpected and amazing fragrances comes from Linden trees. There is a grove of them near my house as you walk down towards the waterfront. The scent is the stop you in your tracks, “what is that?” kind of fragrance. When the trees are in bloom, the air is completely perfumed with a citrusy scent that is sweet and delicious.
And Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) gets its common name for good reason. This shade tolerant, woodland shrub has a thick, sweet fragrance in the middle of the summer. Perfect for those balmy nights outside.
When introducing fragrant trees and plants into your home garden, place them near windows, doors, walkways and patios where you are sure to past by or sit and enjoy the wonderful fragrances.