Plant a sensuous scented garden

Of all the sensory delights that a garden offers, we think you’ll agree that the most romantic of all is fragrance!


Using fragrant or scented plants in a garden design add another level of complexity beyond the visual appeal of a garden.

(Photo: parade.com)

How do I go about creating my own scented garden?

(Warning: Before planting all sorts of nicely scented plants in the garden, keep in mind that research has found a link between flower scent and allergies.)

It is important to know that scent can originate from several plant parts but is often associated with the flowers. However, to truly appreciate aromatic plants, don’t limit your selection to flowers alone.

There are two distinct ways that plants give off fragrance:


*Through flowers - that give off fragrance as they open

(jasmine, roses, gardenia)


*But also through foliage that is aromatic - when oils are released by brushing, crushing or heat.

(chamomile, lavender, artimisia and rosemary).

Scented plants for the garden can be classified into categories much like perfumes:


Herbal – mint; Musk – basil and azaleas; Honey / Almond; Vanilla – magnolia; Lemon; Rose – roses and jasmine.

The best places to plant scented plants?

1. Building scent into your garden is one thing, but to get the best from it you have to make it easy to enjoy.

A good example will be if you place a scented plant such as a lemon verbena standard in containers at path junctions in the garden, at the right height for the passer-by. This way you make it much easier to enjoy the beautiful fragrance of this plant.

2. Similarly, you will plan scent around windows and doors, at heights to suit. Just imagine the sweet smell of jasmine while doing the dishes (instantly the job of cleaning up isn’t such as a punishment anymore!)

Or waking up with the scent of Magnolia lingering in your bedroom?

3. Also a good place to plant perfumed blooms is on or next to the patio where you relax, where the sweet scents can be enjoyed to the full.

Outside bedroom windows is another option.

And what could be more welcoming than a perfumed entrance garden?

4. Another option is to create a romantic scented area around a bench in the garden and if your garden is big enough why not plan a secret perfumed garden to which you can retreat and unwind?


5. Plant Chamomile, Pennyroyal and thyme in between stepping stones so their scent will be released when stepped on. The heat created by the stones in the summer months will also release scent into the air.

(Photo: Heimo Schulzer gardens)


More tips:

• Remember that the potency of flower scents vary, so consider the strength of a fragrance when deciding where to put a plant.

Place plants with subtle fragrances close to the house, but strongly perfumed ones usually find homes farther away.

For example, plant sweet peas nearby, but plant the heavily perfumed ‘Star Gazer’ lily in a more distant bed to get only a whiff of its scent on a breeze.

• Be careful when planting more than one fragrant plant in the same area. Some strongly scented plants (especially those with different fragrances) are better planted in separate areas.

• Also try to stagger bloom times so that each scent can be savoured individually, and fragrance can be spread throughout the year.

Viburnum tinus for instance bloom well before Magnolia grandiflora. This way you will be able to drink fragrance from your garden at all times of the year.

• It is also wise to take advantage of the prevailing wind pattern when placing plants. If the wind in your garden blew primarily from one direction, plant upwind in a spot where the scents would float to you on the breeze.


Once your scented garden is established, sit back, relax and enjoy all of your favourite fragrances.


A scented garden is truly balm for the soul!

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