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It is easy to create a fragrant garden all year round says our gardening expert Martin Fish. It just takes a little planning
I cant imagine a garden without scent. It is one of the main considerations when Im planning a border or area in my own garden I have to include a selection of plants that smell wonderful.
Its a proven fact that scent can positively affect your mood, help to reduce stress levels, enhance sleep and generally make you feel more relaxed. They often bring back memories. For me the smell of philadelphus (mock orange blossom) reminds me of my childhood when we would take my grandma out to visit a garden for the afternoon, or the smell of blackcurrant leaves reminds me of fruit picking on a fruit farm during school holidays.
Adding scent to a garden is easy. It takes just a little planning to enjoy delightful fragrances all year round. Summer months and I think of roses, a firm favourite, with many old and new varieties to choose from. Their wonderful scent often changes as the flowers develop from a tight flower to open bloom. Breeders of new roses rate scent highly as well as its repeat flowering when choosing new varieties which means lovely scents in the garden for several months. The mock orange has a very distinctive scent which can be quite heady.
There are many different types of philadelphus with varying scents, so research the varieties carefully before buying. Two of my favourites are Philadelphus Bell Etoile with a sweet scent and P. microphyllus which has small but highly fragrant flowers that to me smell of bubblegum. The climbing summer honeysuckle is also very fragrant especially when grown against a warm wall where the sweet scent swirls around on a summers evening.
Again there are several different types of honey suckle available all with wonderful fragrance; try Lonicera Belgica, one of my favourites.
Sweet peas have long been a firm favourite because of their scent but some seem to have lost some of their fragrance over the years, so make sure that you select scented varieties when buying seed.
Another ideal indoor flower is lavender. Cut and tie into small bunches to enjoy its spicy scent throughout the year. In the garden English lavender provides not only scent, but a mass of flowers through mid- summer and again there are many different varieties to choose from.
Herbs are also an excellent way of bringing different scents into the garden and for the best effect they need to be planted in a warm, sunny position so that the natural aromatic oils can develop in the foliage. Basil, rosemary, mint and sage are just a few easily grown herbs that when brushed by on a summers day give off a wonderful aroma.
Plants that add perfume to the garden from December through until April include the many different types of mahonia with their racemes of yellow sweetly scented flowers. Viburnums are also very fragrant as are the winter flowering honeysuckles.
Daphne and hamamellis (Witch hazel) are also lovely, but one of the most scented winter flowering shrubs is sarcococca, which has delicate white flowers with a very strong, sweet fragrance that drifts across the garden. Scents continue into spring with lilac, hyacinths and deciduous azaleas that fill the air as the temperatures gradually increase.
The list goes on for both winter and summer plants that have scented flowers and foliage. They enhance any garden and give great lasting pleasure.