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garden of light purple and white sweet alyssum in bloom

Working out in my yard this past week, I was taken with the fragrance of my lilac bush. It is so easy to forget from season to season how amazingly aromatic the lilac blossoms are.

I've written in the past about creating a fragrant herb garden, but how about those other flowering plants and bushes that scent your yard with their lush fragrance? You can create a garden alive with the scents of the season that satisfies your olfactory sense as well as the visual.

The Helpful Gardener has a comprehensive list of fragrant trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals for each of the blooming seasons: spring, summer, and autumn. They even list some winter plants that can emit some scent. Some of my favorites caught my eye: lilac, jasmine, lavender, lilies (choose Asian for the strongest fragrance). They even mention chocolate cosmos; everyone likes the scent of chocolate!

Fragrant plants(click thumbnails to view gallery)

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Suite 101 reminds us not to forget about fragrant foliage, such as geraniums, lemon verbena, and other herbs. As my own garden grows this year, I am reminded of the intense aroma of the lavender foliage. Lavender essential oil is steam distilled from the buds, but the leaves are very fragrant in their own right. Just brushing against the leaves while weeding releases the enveloping calm scent that is lavender.

Some fragrant blossoms only come out at night. What a delight to plant a night-blooming garden, and enjoy your moonlit yard and the scent of your flowers. Nicotiana, four o-clocks, night blooming jasmine, and moonflower vine are just a few that will make your midnight wanderings more aromatic. C'mon, I said jasmine; what are you waiting for?

High Country Gardens has a comprehensive list of fragrant plants, and also suggest adding some potted annuals for fragrance, like sweet peas, daisies, dianthus, or mini carnations. This idea so appealed to me, as I always do some potted annuals, yet had never given fragrance a thought when I chose the flowers for my planters.

Sometimes, too, we are set in our ways, and think we know a plant and all it has to offer. For instance, we love the azalea: it is evergreen and teeming with blossoms, and I can't think of a yard that doesn't have them. But did you know there is a deciduous azalea with an amazing fragrance? I didn't either, but you can be sure I'll be looking for that little beauty the next time I am at my local nursery.

You can even gain some inspiration from the famous fragrant gardens in Savannah, Georgia, at Forsyth Park, created so the blind could enjoy the loveliness of a garden.


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