Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's Your Strategy?

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


Ryan said...

That's my kind of strategy!

Scent is so important to me in the garden and I try to grow plants for scent all year round. I'm particularly looking forward to my Katsura tree this autumn!

Great post, I can't wait for the next.


Sophie Munns said...

What can I say......a divine post!
Scent is the thing that actually seems to cut through all other preoccupations and demand one's attention. I love how it can shift one into a more expansive space...stop you in your tracks even!
thanks fro reminding me Yolanda!

Sophie x

Pam/Digging said...

Excellent advice, YE. I find that aromatic foliage rather than flowers provides most of the scent in my Texas garden, but that works well if you run your hands across the leaves as you stroll through the garden.

nancybond said...

Your gardens are so visually beautiful, I can only imagine what that added scent does for the senses. Great advice!

Ewa said...

Your strategy is mine as well :)
Scent comes first :) like in ancient egyptian rules and measurement system 1/2 was smell, 1/4 sight, 1/8 thought, 1/16 hearing, 1/32 taste and 1/64 touch.

Sunita said...

Your strategy is the best! Capture the sense of smell and the eye will folow and so will the heart.

VP said...

There's nothing like enormous pots of lavender on the patio to really lift the mood! I also have a hanging basket of surfinias by the front door, which are knocking all my visitors' socks off with its scent!

A great reminder now that Autumn plant buying's under way :)

Becca's Dirt said...

I was rubbing the computer screen but nothing happened. I love the different fragrances especially honeysuckle.

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

I am trying to divide my garden into little rooms by planting hedges. This way the fragrance is trapped by these "walls" and intensified by such a small space.
(too bad, they are only waist high, just give them a bit of time).

Curmudgeon said...

I tried the "scratch-n-sniff" on my computer screen like Becca's Dirt, but it didn't work for me either. LOL! We've been working on 4 season scent in our garden. I'm actually looking forward to the rainy winter season.

Kenny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Terra said...

Your ideas about scents in the garden make lots of sense.
Ha ha, I just had to say that, but yeah, I agree, I adore scented roses, clematis, Oriental lilies, lily of the valley et al.
Chocolate cosmos, chocolate mint, all the mint varieties like apple mint and orange mint.
Don't get me started.
I completely agree with you.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Yolanda girl !! How are you ? LOL
Hey .. I need to know what that rose with the very pale petals and very dark center is ? I am so curious if I can grow it here .. I have Zephirine Drouhin and old bourbon rose .. almost thorn less .. growing up to the railings of our deck where we sit.
I just can't accept the concept of a rose without scent .. who in their right mind would do THAT to a rose ?? JEEZ !!
.. I have loads of lavenders .. different ones spread through out the garden .. cone flowers with scent .. I want to have scent every where I can manage without out it turning into a circus though ? .. heck .. what is wrong with a scent circus in your garden anyways ?
Joy : ) wink wink

Frances said...

Hi YE, your garden is a work of art, and also a work of fragrance as well! I didn't know about the clemmies being scented, will have to dig into that one! Those are some mighty fine lilies, BTW. :-)

mothernaturesgarden said...

Ah yes, I could dine at your table enraptured by fragrance forever.

Gail said...

Hey Yolanda, I am in total agreement~~Why have a rose if it is scentless! Makes son sense to me. I have the Clematis montana and it's a wonderful scented plant. Unfortunately, it's been languishing in a pot waiting until I finish staining the fence. Hoping it revives and scents up the garden next spring. gail

Karla Kotelett said...

Guten Morgen, Yolanda! Meine Mama hat mich geschickt, ich soll mir deine Katzenbilder und die vielen Rosen ansehen. Ich bin nämlich ein Schwein, ein rosa Schwein aus Deutschland. Ich weiß, dass du mich verstehen kannst, Mama Kati hat es mir gesagt. Du hast aber schöne Rosen im Garten - sogar eine Sweet Pretty!
Und gaanz schöne Gartenstühle am Haus.

Viele Grüße schickt dir Karla

Roses and stuff said...

Yolanda, what a wonderful post! You're quite right in everything you say. And I envy you for growing Dainty Bess, because it is Dainty Bess, isn't it?
Kram Katarina

Libby said...

Its awhile since I visited, due to my summer with my girls, but as always it is a pleasure to visit your blog and see your beautiful garden in all its surround sound, scent and colourful glory!!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I too love scented plants, but I can't afford a strategy, LOL! Seriously, though, I've never been able to buy plants to order--one or two a year maybe, but the rest I get largely as divisions. I also tend to buy shrubs when I've saved some money, for all season interest. I wish I liked lilacs more--they have wonderful flowers and scent but I'm not wild about their form the other 345 days a year. I do have two dwarf lilacs that smell nice.

JamesA-S said...

Try Moroccan mint: it is even better.
Trachelospermum is perhaps the best scent of all time: except for babies' heads, puppies' feet, coffee, kippers(sometimes), vintage port and pasta sauce.

guild-rez said...

I love flowers in any shape, colour and a lovely scent makes me very happy indeed.
Great post and lovely pictures!!
A flower's fragrance declares to all the world that it is fertile,
available, and desirable, its sex organs oozing with nectar.
Its smell reminds us in vestigial ways of fertility, vigor, life-force,
all the optimism, expectancy, and passionate bloom of youth.
We inhale its ardent aroma and, no matter what our ages,
we feel young and nubile in a world aflame with desire.

- Diane Ackerman,
A Natural History of the Senses, 1990, p. 13

Karin A said...

What a great post Yolanda! I do have a scent strategy (even though I haven't been thinking of all things you wrote). :) I would never buy a rose without scent (that is true!). Have a great weekend! Glad to see you back. :) Kram!

Chookie said...

Sydney is full of common jasmine at the moment, but the Chinese star jasmine is also popular here. I have freesias in bloom around the house right now, and a few weeks ago we had the scent of wattle.

Do you find that any of your flower-scents clash?

Naturegirl said...

Well Yolanda you certainly ((wowed)) and ((wammoed)) me with this scenty post! I can just imagine sitting there in your garden of Bliss taking in all this lingering scent as I breathe in!!(((((WOW!))))Your garden in all it glory!!

Glo said...

What a scent-sational post! It's a breath of fragrant air! Your photos are gorgeous and I'd be happy breathing in your garden on any of your seating have brought back the memory of wallflowers, daffodils, lily of he valley, sweet peas, lavender, carnations, roses, heliotrope and all the other wonderful favorite flavours of fragrance over the seasons. Multimedia rocks!

garden girl said...

I couldn't agree more Yolanda! There are some plants here I'd grow for the scent alone, and jasmine is one of them. Scented foliage is wonderful too, and keeps the scentuality going even when scented blooms are scarce. I even love scent in the veggie garden - basil, thyme and other herbs are wonderful, and squash blossoms are deliciously-scented too.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I've got the whole entry walk to my front door filled with good smelling plants. The backyard near our deck is also loaded with fragrant flowers and shrubs. I do have one scentless rose and if it wasn't so disease resistant and pretty I would get rid of it. This was a great post!

A wildlife gardener said...

What is this life if full of care we have no time to stop and ...smell the roses, jasmine, mint, phlox, carnations, liy of the valley, honeysuckle, wisteria, sweet pea... ...makes a lot of scents ... :)

stadtgarten said...

You are so right, Yolanda - in a garden without scent there is really something missing!
Your garden looks so beautiful, and your photos bring back summer which left a few days ago.
Have a wonderful weekend, groetjes, Monika

Hillside Garden said...

Sieht toll aus bei dir, Yolanda. Die vielen Rosen - sie kommen jetzt nochmal richtig hoch, auch hier.


em said...

right now the sweet autumn clematis is blooming in the garden, and i've a jasmine on the deck. so we are set! thanks for a boffo post!

oh, i have that same single rose, they call it dainty bess or something like that here...

Diana said...

Yolanda - I agree with you totally. The ONLY requirement when I buy roses is an amazing scent. My favorite is my Maggie - she is so sweet and heady, you can smell her from far away. I also love the Plumeria, Datura and Texas Mountain Laurels that smell like grape juice!

Kerri said...

Simply scentsational, my dear! And oh, those roses! I'd be in seventh heaven if they grew like that here!
I love your gaura in the next post up. I'm growing a pink one for the first time and yes, it looks like little dancing butterflies. Wonderful!