Everyone loves a fragrant garden – one that is full of colour, but also smells great too!
Spring is an ideal time to establish new plants, such as lavender and agastache, that are highly scented. A spot in sun near your front door or garden entrance is the perfect place to enjoy the heady fragrances.
The classic scented plant is lavender, and make sure you opt for English lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) for the most scent. ‘Munstead’ is particularly strong.
Herbs such as sage and chamomile have scented foliage that will release fragrance when you brush past.
If you have room for a shrub plant philadephus – a tall specimen in flower – has the potential to fill your garden with a delicious ‘mock orange’ scent. Buddleia davidii, too are very fragrant, and will attract plenty of butterflies.
If you have a wall to cover, plant a honeysuckle or a scented climbing rose such as ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ (which can be grown as a short climber) or ‘Gertrude Gekyll’. If you have a sheltered position you can also grow Trachelospermum jasminoides, the hardier scented star jasmine.
For scented annuals that you can sow in situ, try allysum, sweetpeas or scented stocks. Heliotrope is a half-hardy annual with a distinctive cherry pie scent and can be started off under glass for flowers late in summer.
Anywhere you plant a new border, fork the soil lightly first, removing any weeds. Lay out your plants to judge the best position, taking into account their eventual size.
When planting a number of plants it’s easy to lose track of what plant goes where as you move them to dig the hole, so a tip is to lay the plant you’re digging for it on its side, so you never confuse it with another.
When planted, water new plants thoroughly. They’ll benefit from a mulch of compost now too. Continue to water weekly through the first growing season, especially if you have light soil.
GN’s favourite scented plants
Matthiola bicornis – Also known as night scented stock, the strongly scented flowers open in the evening, so this hardy annual is good planted next to a patio where you eat alfresco on summer evenings. Height 30cm.
Dianthus ‘Mrs Sinkins’ – Thought to be one of the most fragrant perennial garden pinks. A vase of cut stems can fill a room with a delicious spicy clove scent. Keep cutting and deadheading to prolong flowering and so the fragrance. Height 30cm.
Cytisus battandieri – An exotic looking shrub for well drained, light soils in full sun. It has silvery foliage and bright yellow flowers in summer with a distinctive pineapple scent. Makes an excellent wall shrub. Height: 4m.