Using Fragrant Plants in the Landscape

By Kerry Ann Mendez

Breathe deeply. Ahhhhhh. The heavenly fragrance of fresh and fragrant plants is better than any scented candle. All I need to do is say "lilac" and you can smell the word. Of all the five senses, smell has the greatest impact on memory. Why not take advantage of this mood-enhancing reality and plant sweet smelling plants around your home?

Here are some design tips for creating your own fragrance outlet:

  1. Don't place a lot of strong smelling flowers - that bloom at the same time - in close proximity. The combined aroma might be overwhelming.
  2. To intensify and capture sweet smells, place plants so they're not exposed to wind.
  3. Incorporate early, mid and late blooming "scenters" for nonstop fragrance. For example: Hyacinth, Peony, Phlox and Sweet Autumn Clematis.
  4. Use containers packed with fragrant blooms on patios, decks, near entranceways, along pathways and other high traffic areas.

Below are a few fragrant selections that I recommend. We will carry all of these beautiful, sweet-smelling winners this season at Estabrook's.

  • Lilac (Syringa)
  • Korean Spice Bush (Viburnum carlesii)
  • Mock Orange (Philadelphus)
  • Daphne 'Carol Mackie'
  • Summersweet (Clethra)
  • David Austin roses, Rugosa roses, and more
  • Lavender
  • Actaea (formerly Cimicifuga)
  • Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
  • Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata)
  • Peony - especially 'Sarah Berhardt', 'Festiva Maxima' and 'Monsieur Jules Elie'
  • Sweet Autumn Clematis
  • Hosta with fragrant flowers: 'Guacamole', 'So Sweet', 'Stained Glass'
  • Pansy
  • Alyssum (Lobularia)
  • Heliotrope
  • Nicotiana