Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Fragrant Garden Do-Over

I don't know about you, but I rarely make New Years's resolutions. Last January I resolved to not lose my Felco pruners and to spend more time on Blotanical meeting new bloggers, both of which I accomplished, but I had made those resolutions months before the Jan. 1 deadline. I normally make a resolution after realizing I have just done something profoundly stupid. Here's how it works:

Me: Oh my gosh! I didn't know you were pregnant! You look beautiful. When are you due?

Someone Else:  I'm not pregnant!

Me: (silently to myself) STOP TALKING!!! Geez Louise, NEVER do that again!!!

Yep, that's how resolutions work for me. There's no need to make resolutions in January since they're usually an ongoing process. However, I am a planner, researcher, and compulsive list maker and am always resolving to do this or that. Last winter I decided to add more fragrance to my garden by introducing a Ginger Syllabub rose and Four O'Clocks to the mix. Both were absolute failures. The Ginger Syllabub rose wasn't a Ginger Syllabub at all but a scentless pale beige imposter, and the Four O'Clocks were too unhappy to bother being fragrant. Pacified by the memory of spring lilacs, the heady aroma of several trumpet lilies and a mound of mint, I was frustrated but undeterred and set about researching new plant possibilities. I made a new list.

White 'Fragrant Angel' coneflowers smell like honey. Kalimeris and 'Tikki Torch' coneflowers grow in the background.

Trumpet lilies are so powerfully fragrant that you can smell them from several houses away. I once made a bouquet of them and brought it inside but had to take it outside because the scent was too strong. But they're wonderful in the garden. Heliopsis grows nearby.

'Sceptre d'Isle' roses smell wonderful but you have to get close to be able to appreciate the fragrance. White geraniums grow as its base.


Fragrant plants added in the fall:

Sunday Gloves daylily
Jude the Obscure rose
Peggy Martin roses
Variegated solomon's seal (Polygonatum)
Naked Lady lilies

Fragrant plants being added in the spring:

More fragrant daylilies
Abraham Darby rose
Carolina Jessamine 'Marguerita'

Fragrant plants already in the garden (including foliage):

A fragrant hosta
'Hyperion' daylily
'Fragrant Angel" coneflowers
Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum) - slender and broad leafed varieties
Phlox (Supposedly these are fragrant but I can't tell. Maybe I just need a new nose!)
Roses (Only a few are fragrant)
Dianthus 'Cheddar Pinks' - very small clump
Sweetspire 'Little Henry'
Trumpet lilies
Sweetbox shrubs (Sarcocca humilis)
Various herbs

I grow a lot of lavender. If you stick the dried seed heads into a food processor with a few cups of fine white sugar and process for a few minutes, you'll end up with lavender scented sugar that's wonderful in baked goods.

Can you think of any I've missed? There are still vacancies in the container garden.


  1. Very pretty flowers you are already growing. I love my Lavender also. It smells so wonderful as I walk through the gardens and being evergreen is a bonus. I've already made my plans for Spring too.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. Sporo masz już pachnących kwiatów w grodzie
    :-).Lubię lilie mimo ich silnego zapachu. Pozdrawiam i życzę wspaniałego 2012 Roku.

    A lot of you have fragrant flowers in the city
    :-). I like lilies in spite of their strong smell. I greet and wish you a wonderful 2012 year.

  3. Flowering tobacco, Nicotiana alata. It's an annual but reseeds, and the night time fragrance is come-hither and alluring. Not overpowering though.

    For shrubs, clethra. Spicy, delicate, an exciting whiffy kind of hint on the summer air. Those are my two fragrance plants.

    (By the way I love the description of yourself as a planner, researcher and list maker. Yup, I can relate.) I really like the Sceptre rose and geranium photo, it just pops beautifully! Wish I could smell it.

  4. Oooh, I wonder if the Lavender sugar would be good in lemonade? I'm not a big resolution-maker, either. Maybe I should be. Your lists of fragrant plants are helpful. Love the shot of the Roses with the Geraniums at the base! Happy Holidays!

  5. It seems you've already named three of my favourite scents in the garden! mint, lavender and lilac. I'm not a huge fan of overpowering smells but appreciate herbs a lot, I like to keep pieces in my pocket while gardening so I can rub the leaves and smell them. Lemon thyme is amazing, as if lemon balm. and then the multitudes of mints - chocolate, pineapple, spearmint, apple....

  6. Fragrance is very important to me in roses, but somehow I don't pay so much attention to it when it comes to other plants. After reading your post I wonder why the heck I don't? I think it is such a great idea of yours to consciously select plants for fragrance. I love your trumpet lilies together with the heliopsis and the combination of 'Scepter'd Isle' with the white geranium looks stunning. I think I will make a scented plant list for my garden, too, using your list as a starting point. A very fragrant plant that comes to my mind that you don't mention is the small Sweet Alyssum. I also like the scent of petunias.

  7. Lavender flavored sugar sounds divine! I am alway pleased when i can add a plant that has a wonderful smell. Your garden must be a sensory delight!

    I have enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to many new posts in the new year. Happy gardening, 2012!

  8. Sunray - I'm always touching the lavender when I'm outside. I love its smell.

    Giga - Szczęśliwa Ogrodnictwo w ​​2012 roku! I tylko się kilka lilie ale kocham jak piękne są. Muszę uważać na ich pyłki, ponieważ plamy moje ubrania i palców.

    Laurrie - Thanks for reminding me about flowering tobacco! I quit growing it because it was always covered with tobacco hornworms but it's time to give it another try.

    Beth - I bet lavender sugar would be incredible in lemonade! I once had honey lavender ice cream. I shouldn't have since I'm lactose intolerant but it was so worth the stomach ache!

    Marguerite - I love herbs, too. I've grown lemon balm in other gardens and I love its lemonyness. I'm planning on filling a big strawberry jar with herbs and will add lemon thyme to the list. It smells so good!

    Christina - I love sweet alyssum! I grows well here in the spring/fall but gets fried in the summer. But a pot of alyssum with pansies would be a wonderful way to greet spring. Quite a few of the fragrant plants listed also attract pollinators.

    Deb - Lavender sugar is so good!! It's incredible in shortbread cookies with lemon zest. I love your blog, as well. :o) Your garden is magnificient!

    Greggo - I need to find a Scratch and Sniff app for my blog so everyone can enjoy the fragrance!

  9. I should have made the Felco resolution last year because they took a walk this winter down at the farm. I think I complained to everyone there endlessly about it too thinking maybe they might walk back, but no.... Thanks for the tip too. I grow lavender and never thought to use it that way.

  10. I'm nearly certain that confederate jasmine would grow in a sunny, sheltered from wind spot. In my mind it has more smell per square inch of flower than any other. It can be overwhelming.

    ps. I received 3 new pruners this year, one Felco, for Christmas. Exactly the number I lost. I have got to get better at this!

  11. I like lemon thyme as a border. When you brush by it or work next to it in the beds it comes alive. Of course, you can always cook with it.

    I like confederate jasmine and have grown it on the sunny hot west side of a house before. Cold winter winds did not seem to affect it.

    I have been known to paint my tools bright pink. Somehow they manage to return to me.

  12. Donna - It's frustrating to lose tools since they can be so expensive. I wish they had a microchip that would beep when I pushed a search button like the one on the cordless phone. So handy!

    Jess - I grew confed. jasmine when I lived in SC but it's not hardy here, unfortunately. You got Felco's for Christmas? Dang! Someone really loves you!! :o)

    Tufa - The pink tool idea is awesome! I bought a big red watering can and red garden clogs last year to help me keep track of where they were. Safety orange will be the color I go for next if I suddenly start losing those, too. Either that or a seeing eye dog!

  13. I love your list! I'm learning that fragrance is more and more important to me. I should make a resolution to add more fragrant flowers to the garden, too.

  14. I'm not much for resolutions myself either - but I shared your post on Twitter, maybe it will spark some others to think fragrantly when they plan their garden.

  15. Resolutions? I do make them and then, I forget about them...
    I love your lists of fragrant plants!
    Have a Happy and Healthy 2012!

  16. Since not much grows here in our brutal South Texas summers, I rely on herbs to bring scent to my patio garden. I love brushing the basil, thyme and oregano and catching the scent on my hands and in the air.
    Resolutions? Not really. I, like, you make note of dumb things I've done during the year and try to remember to not make "That" mistake again!

    Happy New Year to you and I love your list of fragrant plants...especially the lilies!

  17. Hmm, you can come spend the summer here and make my gardens all pretty! My non-existent flower gardens, that is. One day ...
    And also, how on earth do you manage with five dogs? Two muddy dogs are plenty, and I've already told hubs to make sure my veggie garden is dog-proof this year!
    Happy New Year!

  18. Wow, you're going to have passersby move in with you with such a fragrant display!! I can just smell the flowers - beautiful! Happy, happy New Year to you and your family. It's such a joy to have met you here in the blogosphere. Thanks for all your humor and encouraging comments over the past're a joy!

  19. There are so many different aspects of gardening we can focus on...seasonal bloom, evergreens, style, sunny/shady, and fragrance too. If we ever get everything we want in every aspect, wow, what gardens we would have, eh? I think I'm too focused on the other aspects that sometimes fragrance takes a back seat. Have you tried Lemon Verbena? Strongest lemon scent there is in an herb! And have you tried Powis Castle Artemisia? Likes it hot and dry, but wonderful soft fragrant foliage. Datura for night blooming fragrance -- gets HUGE, though. And of course the basils. Holy Basil or Sacred Basil is my favorite for fragrance. It is truly heavenly :-) Happy New Year!!! Looking forward to another year of your humorous take on gardening :-)

  20. I love the idea of planting for scent. I added rose daphne and mock orange bushes last year and hope they come through the winter. I especially like scent in the evenings.

    Have a wonderful new year!

  21. I've never grown lavender. It's on my list of new plants to far as containers go, do you grow any veggies in containers? Peppers do really well, although they're not very fragrant.

  22. I just love your idea for lavender sugar - thank you!

    Your list of fragrant flowers is wonderful and I bookmarked your post as reference.

    Wishing you joyful gardening in 2012!

  23. I like Formosa Lilies and Hardy Ginger for fragrance. Pineapple Sage too as an annual. You have a lot of fragrant plants already, quite a nice list!

  24. Tammy, Trumpet lilies and more roses are on my spring wish list. I planted lavender last summer. Fingers crossed it makes it through the winter!
    There were a couple of surprises for me on your list. A fragrant hosta? Not one of mine has any noticeable scent! What variety do you have? The second surprise was fragrant dayliles. I have always read that "fragrant" dayliles are really subtle. Perhaps you know of a truly fragrant variety?


Thanks for visiting my blog! Feel free to comment on the posts or photos.