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Scented Gardens – every garden should have some scented plants

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Daphne aureomarginata


Gardens are a source of delight to all our senses and the scent of fresh plants is one of the joys of having a garden. Many gardens are designed purely from a visual aspect but we should never forget the importance of stimulating all our senses and our sense of smell is a very powerful influence on our mood and wellbeing. Every breath we take is an opportunity to enjoy the scents of our gardens.

The power of scent has always been recognised as a healing influence, reducing stress and relaxing the mind and body. Certain scents can trigger memories and emotions and can be relaxing or invigorating .We can create our own sensory experience with the plants in our gardens.

An ideal place to place scented plants is near to doors were the effect hits you as soon as you open the door or upon returning home. The lovely midwinter scent of Sarcococca confusa near your front door can help to lift the winter blues. Placing Lavender, Thyme or Nepeta along the edges of a path creates lovely aromas as you brush past the foliage. You could even create a patch of Chamomile lawn, which releases scent as you walk over it.

It’s a good idea to leave a little space between plants with particularly strong scent, leave a little breathing space between each experience. Don’t swamp one area with too many aromas as it can be overpowering. Consider when different flowers bloom for full effect and don’t forget to think about how your planting works visually, you will want your garden to look beautiful too.

Create a herb garden with Rosemary, Sage, Oregano, Thyme and Mint near to the house or under a window. This will create a fabulous fragrance and allow for easy picking for cooking. If possible grow rosemary where you can brush against it or run your hands through it.

Your garden is a place to escape and relax away from the stresses of everyday life. Fragrant flowers, climbers and shrubs will help to create another dimension to your outdoor space.

Here are some suggestions for aromatic plants to grow in your garden that will provide scent throughout the seasons:

Spring / Summer

Cistus x purpurea

Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’

Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica

Cytisus battandieri

Daphne aureomarginata

Daphne x burkwoodii

Erysimum Walburton’s ‘Fragrant Star’ (Wallflower)

Ipomoea alba

Jasminum officionale

Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet Pea)

Lavendula augustifolia

Lilium regale

Lippia citriodora (Lemon Verbena)

Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’

Lonicera periclymenum ‘Belgica’

Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent

Matthiola bicornis (Stock)

Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’

Nicotiana sylvestris

Oreganum vulgare (Oregano)

Pelargonium (varieties)

Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’

Phlox paniculata ‘Amethyst’

Primula japonica ‘Apple Blossom’

Rhododendron luteum

Rosa ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’


Salvia officinalis (Sage)

Syringa microphylla ‘Superba’ (Lilac)


Trachelospermum jasminoides

Wisteria sinensis ‘Prolific’


Autumn / Winter

Cercidiphyllum japonicum

Chimananthus praecox

Hammamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’

Iris unguicularis

Lonicera fragrentissima

Lonicera periclymenum ‘Seratona’

Sarcococca confusa

Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’


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