Get in Touch With Your Scent Sense
Color is usually the first thing that grabs your attention when you walk into a garden, then perhaps size or shapes. The flowers are there, right in front of your eyes. Whether it’s a multitude of colors, a muted or monochromatic palette, or if it’s emotional architectural plantings or drifts of different textures, it’s the seeing, the visual aspect which inspires the ooohs and aaahs.
For me, it is the olfactory sense, too, which craves equal gratification. A garden without fragrance is only half a garden. So many plants have been hybridized for more bright colors, larger flowers, or to be more pest resistant. Fine, but often it’s the fragrance that flees with the hybridization.
I reach out to scrunch the vegetation, rub a associate of leaves in my palm, bury my nose in my hands, and ultimately drop my confront into a stand of upright salvia or lilies or butterfly bush. Though I haven’t in addition been stung, I inevitably come away with pollen on my confront and bits of blooms in my hair.
More than the other four senses, I think our sense of smell can closest cause a memory so pleasant, so nostalgic, so intense that it can make us nearly relive a long-ago moment. The fragrance of peonies immediately transports me back to my mother’s garden, lavender to my grandmother’s sachets. Jasmine reminds me of a neighbor’s vine-covered fence decades ago. Honeysuckle grew along a trail where I used to horseback ride. And rosemary creates a veritable picture of the neighborhood boys wrestling on a rosemary-covered hillside.
The fragrances of some plants, like jasmine, seem to simply pervade the air. Citrus, viburnum, alyssum, lilac, and lemon verbena come to mind in addition. Other plants need to be tweaked or brushed for their scent to be released, like rosemary, many salvias, scented geraniums, bay laurel, the thymes. But others require merely your close presence to give you the complete impact of their fragrance, such as heliotrope, chocolate cosmos, catmint, licorice plant, curry plant, or the mints.
Here are some tips if you’ve been contemplating planting a fragrance garden:
• Invite the scents into your home by planting near a window.
• To enjoy the scents coming and going, put a trellis for jasmine, honeysuckle, or wisteria over an entry door
• So that you don’t have to bend down too far, plant in a raised bed, atop a retaining wall, or already in a hanging basket or window box.
• Plant chamomile or a variety of creeping thymes between stepping stones or between the tread and riser of garden stairs, where walking on the plants releases their scents.
• Surround your garden bench with nose-level plants such as lilacs or butterfly bush.
• Plant a wide variety of fragrance-producing plants for sequential blooming month after month.
• To keep the fragrances from quickly dissipating, plant in an area protected by a substantial fence, hedge, taller shrubs, or other windbreak.
• The last tip is to simply breathe deeply and let your scent sense fill you with fragrance.