Flowers fulfill a number of functions in the garden including the provision of color the attraction of beneficial pollinating insects, not to mention the liberal perfuming of the garden. Not all flowers, however, provide scent so careful selection is necessary if a fragrant garden is to be achieved.
Encouraging Fragrant Flowers
Whilst flowers which are naturally fragrant should automatically grace the garden with their perfume, attention to a number of issues can lead to a stronger fragrance being emitted. In the first instance check the soil requirements of a plant; lavender, for instance, is reported to produce a stronger scent, if grown in slightly alkaline soil.
In addition if cutting flowers or bringing flowering plants inside, do so before flowers actually open. The scent produced by fragrant flowers is the product of the release of the flower’s essential oils. Cutting flowers after buds have already opened will mean that vital essential oils have already been lost, thus reducing the fragrance of flowers brought indoors.
Types of Scented Flowers
There are a wide number of a fragrant flowers available, which come in all manner of forms. Here is a list of just a few, which will help to maintain fragrance around the year.
Summer Jasmine – Summer flowering Jasmine is a green climbing flower which produces masses of small, usually white flowers during the summer. The plant is easy to grow and a great addition to a contemporary or oriental garden. The down side is that Summer Jasmine is not very hardy and so will probably not survive a harsh winter in the UK.
Scented Bulbs – There are a number of scented bulbs available; two of the best are Hyacinths and English Bluebells. Both are best planted en-mass to give the best fragrance and under normal circumstances both flower later in the season than early bulbs, such as Snowdrops or Crocuses. Hyacinths produce large spikes with multiple small flowers on, whilst English Bluebells provide small delicately scented flowers during May.
Tobacco – Tobacco grows large green foliage leaves from which tall canes emerge, with a crown of long tubular white flowers. The unique property of tobacco is that whilst many flowers deliver their scent during the day, tobacco has evolved to release its fragrance during the evening. As such, not only will tobacco provide the garden with a perfume during the evening, the plant also attracts evening pollinators such as moths.
Lavender – Lavender is an all round hero for the scented garden. Lavender in most cases has both scented leaves and flowers, amongst the most fragrant varieties are Hidcot (English Lavender) and French Lavender. To obtain the best results grow Lavender in a slightly alkaline soil.
Roses – Roses are a favourite amongst those gardening for fragrance. Roses are both hardy and long lived is treated correctly. However, be aware that not all varieties are scented. For garden, perfume ensures that a scented variety is chosen such as Blue Moon.