How to Design a Fragrant Garden

Fragrant Flowers and When They Bloom

Fragrant plants can add a whole new dimension of pleasure to your garden. Just a whiff of a flower’s sweet perfume can lift your spirits and bring back memories from long ago.

Fragrance is very personal and that's because everyone has a unique sense of smell. So when you're choosing fragrant plants for your garden, just use your nose. Choose scents that appeal to you and that evoke the feelings and moods you want to experience.

How to Use Fragrant Plants in Your Garden

If you want a garden that smells as good as it looks, incorporate fragrant plants in as many places as possible. Put hyacinths beside your front door, lilacs beneath your bedroom window and Oriental lilies in planters on your patio. Edge a pathway with sweet alyssum or lavender, plant fragrant roses behind a garden bench, and surround your deck or patio with pots of gardenias, jasmine and crinum.

Some plants are more fragrant in the evening than they are during the day. These include flowering tobacco (nicotiana), night phlox, four-o-clocks and brugmansia. Locate these plants where you can enjoy them on warm summer evenings.


Types of Plant Fragrance

Cultures throughout the world use fragrance to promote physical and mental wellbeing. These scents are often grouped by their common properties, and using these fragrance profiles can be helpful when designing your own fragrant garden.

Floral:  Sweet, heady perfumes that promote relaxation. Plants such as Oriental lilies, jasmine, gardenia, peony, lily of the valley

Fresh:  Zesty perfumes that stimulate and refresh. Plants such as lavender, mint, citrus

Spicy:  Deep, musky scents that are slow and sensual. Plants such as roses, carnations, sage

Woodsy:  Perfumes that promote mental acuity. Plants such as rosemary, balsam, cedar


Bloom Times for Fragrant Plants

If you want to fill your home and garden with fragrance throughout the year, select plants that bloom at different times during the growing season.

January – paperwhites, jasmine, freesia

February – jasmine, sweet box, winter daphne, witch hazel, freesia

March – forced muscarihyacinths and daffodils

April – daffodils, hyacinths, muscari

May – tulipslily of the valley, creeping phlox, wallflowers, lilacs, bearded iris, azaleas, wisteria, citrus, sweetshrub

June – mock orange, peony, rhododendron, daphne, roses, dianthus, sweet alyssum, sweet peas, stock, fringetree

July – Oriental lilies, heliotrope, petunias, daylilies, lavender, garden phlox, sweet alyssum, yucca

August – nicotiana, Oriental-Trumpet lilies, mignonette, clethra, four o’clocks, gardenia, tuberose, brugmansia, butterfly bush, acidanthera, freesia

September – autumn clematis, tuberose, snakeroot, gardenia, roses, brugmansia, ginger lilies, glossy abelia, acidanthera

October – sweet olive, variegated silverberry

November – balsam fir

December – paperwhites, balsam fir


 You may also be interested in reading: Fragrant Flowers for Homegrown Bouquets and Fragrant Spring-Blooming Bulbs.

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