Planting fragrant plants should be no accident. While I don’t suggest over-whelming your garden with dozens of scents whirling the air, a few aromatic plants tucked here and there helps draw in the visitor.
I for one enjoy when I walk past my Foxi Pavement Rose and immediately smell the sweet scent. Without exception I stop and bury my nose into the single petal blooms. That is if I can find a spot free of bees. As well, if you plant scented foliage in your flowerbed gardens, the leaves could very well smell just as good after they are dried. Just remember to pick the leaves when dry, find a dry location for the process and lay flat on a screen so there is ample circulation for both sides. I dry my Lavender fragrant plant by hanging them in bundles upside down with a rubber band. It is simply amazing to throw a spring or two of my Lavender into the tub for a nice long soak.
Types of Fragrant Plants I Use
Lemon Balm: As I snip off the spent blooms in my middle flower garden, I can’t help but rub my fingers against the leaves of the Lemon Balm. Looking at the green foliage, one would never suspect it would emit such a powerful lemon scent. I first planted Lemon Balm in 2009 and it has become one of my fragrant plants. I also planted it as an annual, or so I thought. The leaves, picked after the morning dew evaporates and freshly washed, adds wonderful flavor to any summer drink. You can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I noticed, albeit in mid-July, that this aromatic annual became a perennial. In fact, it was growing back in three separate areas of the flowerbed garden.
Russian Sage: The Russian Sage plant is interesting. While listed as a perennial and at maturity, it looks more like a tall wispy shrub. The gray-green leaves when crushed smell like sage. I don’t find the blue spike flowers aromatic, at least not when you walk by.
Bee Balm: The next pleasure for my nose in my garden is the Bee Balm or Monarda leaf. Planted right beside my Winnipeg Parks Rose I have the opportunity to brush against the leaves, which then emit the scent of my favorite tea…Earl Grey. Because the leaves smell so fragrant, I really enjoy checking my rose leaves for those little green worms.
Catmint: Some fragrant leaves are predictable like Catmint. With tall stalks of blue flowers, not only do bees enjoy this plant, but so did our cat Jakesy. I never minded the fact that the perennial plant was more flatten than upright. Jakesy always managed to take her afternoon nap mid center. Of course, that was after she tossed and turned a few times. I could actually smell the mint when this entire process was happening.
Pavement Roses: Both the Foxi Pavement Rose and the Purple Pavement Rose blooms are fragrant. Planted at the edge of the my peninsula garden and right beside the bridge crossing, visitors always enjoy the scent that seems to linger in that one very spot.
Alyssum: This low mounding annual, which blooms in white, rose or purple flowers, the Alyssum makes a great border/edging plant.
David Phlox: Have you every walked in a garden and been surprised by a wonderful sweet scent floating beside you? That sweet scent could be the David Phlox. This tall growing, white blooming perennial, re-blooms as long as you deadhead the spent blooms.
Dianthus Pinks: While many varieties of the Dianthus are fragrant, and because it is low growing, you really have to bend down to appreciate the mild scent.
Nicotiana: I find that the white variety of the Nicotiana or flowering tobacco plant to be the most aromatic. In fact, it is always listed as one of those night scented flowers, as it is most fragrant in the evening and night.
Lavender: The lavender plant, any variety, happens to be my favorite aromatic scent. This sweet, clean scent relaxes me enough that I spray Lavender water on my bed sheets to help with a good night’s sleep. Shrubby 18″ to 24″ tall topped with tall slender spikes of very fragrant flowers, which seems to bloom for weeks on end. Not only are the blooms fragrant, but so are the leaves.
Nemesia: Years ago I discovered the white scented flowers of the Nemesia. Smelling like lilacs, I use this annual as fillers and spillers in many of my container planting, especially placed close to a patio or sitting area.
Dwarf Korean Lilac: What can I say about this hardy shrub. The Dwarf Korean Lilac, re-bloomer has amazingly strong scented flower clusters. Just walking by the garden shrub and you can smell the wonderful fragrance.
Bloomerang Lilac: New to me this year in the fragrant plants department, the Bloomerang Lilac is defined as a re-bloomer. In doing a bit of research, I discovered that this variety is actually a continuous bloomer. No rest period. In fact, I planted two of them and are already blooming, as small as they are and in their first season. They are quite remarkable.
Consider Both Blooms and Foliage
When considering planting fragrant plants in your flowerbed gardens, remember to include both the fragrant plants that emit a fragrance from their blooms as well as those that have only fragrant foliage. It would be sad to miss out.Return to the Chicago Lawn Care Home