Fragrant gardens

Don’t you hate it when a bad smell really gets up your nose? Our sense of smell is one of our most used senses we use it to detect dangers (off milk and smoke), taste food and it’s even said to attract us to other people.

From household fresheners to perfume and cologne it has been part of everyday culture from the very beginning. It would be hard to imagine life without it. New research now shows that our sense of smell is a lot keener than once thought and we can notice the smallest differences in each scent. In fact we dismiss many of the one trillion smells we can identify, as they are around us on an everyday basis, it seems our nose becomes bored!

Flowers are still the major contributor to perfume and we all have our favourites. The scent that the flowers bring aligns us to who we are and the memories that it conjures up for us. So next time you pick or give a friend a bouquet, you are giving so much more than just a bunch of flowers.

Having perfumed plants in the garden adds another dimension and it doesn’t need to be any grand scheme. Think about how you can enhance your space and where plants can be used so that they give you maximum pleasure. They can go in to the existing landscape or create a special garden where you can retreat and forget about the hassles of the day.

When planning for a scented garden, it is important to think all year round, so that there is always a shrub, annual, perennial or bulb that is providing perfume. Don’t judge a book by its cover some of the scruffiest shrubs produce wonderful perfume just tuck other shrubs around them. Seek out the old fashioned and unusual in your search for perfume, they are worth the effort.

If there is no more room in your garden then use pots, they can be changed and moved to where ever you need them. Perfect when placed in a front entrance so the fragrance greets you or on the deck to drift over friends and family on a warm summer evenings. Using pots also enables you to provide the best soil and position for a scented plant that you might otherwise not be able to.

Pathways needn’t just be a way to get from one place to another, they can offer more than just a walk, by planting fragrant plants. Let colour and scent spill over, plant prostrate herbs, along the edges so they release their scent when stepped on.

Plant perfume around children’s play areas and let them discover the magic and power of scent. Some of the smallest flowers have the loveliest delicate perfumes and they are the right size for small noses. Spring bulbs in particular are easy to grow and bring rich rewards.

Handy Hints

  • Keep the branches when you have finished pruning Rosemary, Lavender or Bay tree let them dry out a little. Then drop on to the, brazier, bonfire or the BBQ after you have finished cooking. The scent is released in to the air as they burn.
  • Plant chamomile either as a lawn or between paving stones. Use the spreading chamomile and plant about 8-10cm apart as this will ensure they spread to form a mat as they grow. Keep the area weed free, well watered and stay off it for the first few months to let it become established. To maintain height and keep tidy, clip with hedge shears rather than the lawn mower.
  • Make your own draw liners from the garden with your own favourite fragrant flowers. Take a thick heavy paper about the thickness of wall paper and cut to fit the bottom of the draw. Cover with flowers roll up the paper and the flowers, then seal in a plastic bag. Leave somewhere dry for about six weeks, the paper will then have absorbed the perfume from the flowers. Discard the flowers and fit in to your draws or give away as a gift.