Gardening is, to coin a phrase, multimedia baby, but I'm appalled and horrified by the fact that not all gardeners seem to realize this. Frankly, any fool can have a garden in technicolor and with surround sound. It's not that difficult to create a garden like that; just bung in a few colourful plants and the surround sound you will get without any effort on your part whatsoever, courtesy of the birds, bees and less poetical and very,very of the unfortunate, the roar of heavy traffic close by.
So what's your strategy to add that something special, if not to say magical, to your garden that you'll never find in a cinema near you?
Any idea what I'm talking about yet?
Still clueless? Then it's high time I brought out the big guns.
Still completely befuddled or has that one remaining braincell of yours finally got a whiff from what the whatsit it is I'm on about?
That's right, yours truly is wondering if you have a scent strategy and if not, why not?
Have you ever stopped to consider that buying a rose without scent is of the sense that is non? There are so many drop dead gorgeous scented roses that you will never ever need to buy one without. Why deprive yourself of such fragrant pleasures, especially when there is no need whatsoever?
So, the first rule of your scent strategy would be to always opt for the scented variety of a plant when one is available. And this applies not only to roses but many other plants as well.
Why buy a scentless Clematis Montana when you can have a scented one that will lift the roof of your skull with its fragrance every time you pass by?
The second rule of sensible scent strategy is placement. It's no good to pop a heavily scented plant in an area of your garden that you seldom if ever visit. The clever scent strategist puts scented plants near seating areas such as the one above, and like the gorgeously scented yellow lilies in the first pics of this post and this one below.
Here I've used Trachelospermum jasminoides
a scented wonder that's a winner in my book. I first encountered it in Tuscany, Italy, a few years ago and was blown away by its wonderful fragrance. They say it's not fully winter hardy in my neck of the woods (zone 8) but it did survive the heavy frosts of minus 15 last winter. And it's in a pot!
It's a climber, evergreen, and it flowers for months and months. During the summer months it perfumes my outdoor dining area and when the doors are open, its heady fragrance fills my conservatory up to the rafters. Utter Bliss!
The third rule of scent strategy is to have scent in your garden all year long. And yes, that's possible. There are quite a few shrubs that flower in winter with a delightful scent, many spring bulbs have scent too, loads of annuals and perennials that flower from late spring til summer have a wonderful fragrance and so have oodles of plants that flower from summer right up till the end of Fall.
You can plant up a container with winter scented plants and once they've finished, the Thalia daffodils that you cleverly also planted in said container will take over the scent baton, followed by sweet peas sown earlier by your own fair hands. Yep, it really is that easy.
As you now know placement is very important in scent strategy and you should not only place scented plants near seating areas but also frame your garden paths with them. I deliberately used the word frame as you should not only edge the paths with such delights as lavender, thyme and other herbs that release their scent when you brush against them, but also let scent grow over pergola's, arches and such so that a heavy and heady blanket of scent will make your head spin when you walk underneath it.
Let roses and honeysuckle grow around your door. Sure it's a cliche, but have you ever stopped to wonder why it is such a cliche? Try it and you'll wonder why it took you so long to plant such fragrant friends near your door.
The fourth and last rule of scent strategy is to cram in as much scent as possible in your day.
Grow Indian mint and let its leaves add a yummy fragrance to your cuppa tea.
Buy or make your own perfumes and potpourri to scent yourself and your house, and whatever you do,
do not ever forget to bring a bunch of garden fragrance into your living room.
Cos that would be plain stoopid, wouldn't it?
And now that you've become a scent strategist it's high time you head for the nurseries and garden centres to sniff out all the wonderful plants, shrubs, climbers and bulbs that will scent your garden and home for many years to come. You know it makes scent err sense!
copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen
I'm currently reading The Skiver's Guide by Diana Wynne Jones