Using Scent in the Garden

Few things are more pleasurable than wafts of scent from plants in your garden, particularly in the winter and early spring, so we’ve picked our scented favourites.

If you have a terrace or patio where you like to spend your summer evenings, surround it with Nicotiana, Oenothera, summer-flowering jasmines and honeysuckles.

Clematis montana releases its scent as the petals are warmed by the morning sun. Position by a south east facing door and you can walk into a cloud of delicate almond fragrance as you leave the house. What a perfect start to the day!

Clematis montana
Clematis montana
Daphne odora
Daphne odora

Keep the season and time of scent for each plant in mind and place the right plant in the most beneficial area. Daphne performs best near doorways, paths or seating areas.

Planting companion plants can protect scented varieties. For example, planting tomatoes near basil repels aphids and spider mite.

Nepeta sp.
Nepeta
Sarcococca confusa
Sarcococca confusa

A Perfume For Every Season

Summer: 

This is the season for scent! Roses, sweetpeas and lavender fall over themselves to compete for our nasal attention.

Autumn:

Use a Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Katsura tree) and enjoy watching children’s delight as they try to pinpoint the source of a delicious, burnt caramel smell. You don’t need to spoil the magic by telling them it’s actually the compounds released by decaying, copper toned leaves that resemble candyfloss!

Winter:

Lonicera fragrantissima (the winter-flowering honeysuckle) starts to flower in January and is usually smothered in hungry hoverflies throughout February. It’s a welcome source of food to them and a headful of delicious lemony sherbet scent for us.

Lonicera frangrantissima
Lonicera frangrantissima
Cercidiphyllum japonicum
Cercidiphyllum japonicum

The Smell Of Green

In the aromatic world, green is used to describe a fresh, light, cool or sharp aroma. A green scent is also often ascribed to freshly cut grass, conifer trees and lily of the valley.

Smelling the greenness of our gardens can produce an effect similar to those described by the ancient Japanese art of forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku, where aromatic evergreeens release airborne essential oils which can boost natural immunity. Herb gardens are wonderful for this: think mints, basils and origanums.