Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Fragrance, either from foliage or flowers, in the garden is an essential element of any successful planting scheme. Given the wide variety of plants available to the gardener it should be easy to achieve.

Mediterranean terrain has scented wild plant species in abundance, many of which have long been cultivated. Those plants were often cultivated for both medicinal and culinary purposes, but they have now become an integral part of the ornamental garden.

The scented garden can be as heady, laden with perfume or as subtle as you wish.

Citrus smells freshen the air and often repel insects, which make them especially suitable for outdoor dining areas.

How and when to use scented plants poses a dilemma for some gardeners. I think there are a couple of basic ideas which can help.

Around the entrance to a property or building is perhaps the most obvious choice, for stronger scented plants; another is the patio or any location at which people linger, viewpoints and vistas and garden benches. Plants like Jasmine, Gardenias, Roses, Nicotina and Lavender.

Walkways are another favourite area, foliage that will be crushed underfoot like chamomile or thyme, realising their scent.

Amongst the planting areas either side of your walkway place plants with scented leaves that will be brushed past as well as the fragrant flowered varieties.

The garden framework planting of trees and shrubs can also play a part. Pine, Cedar, Eucalyptus or Rosemary are good examples.

Combinations of some fragrant species may appear to be more problematic than it probably is. Often plants have evolved to release their perfume at a particular time of day when the insects they require for pollination are most active. It is therefore possible to have powerfully scented varieties planted in close proximity to each other and their scents dominating different parts of the day. Perfumed air changes the atmosphere just as fading light does.

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