Fragrance plays a magical role in the garden; it transforms a fleeting moment in time to a lifelong memory, an invisible touchstone to a place, person, or celebration. The potency of its spell is rarely diluted or weakened; instead the delicious scent rests in your mind, awaiting to be awakened when a simple step forward can send you countless steps backward. The perfume of nature is a potent time machine. Plant something fragrant in your garden, capture your corner of the world in a corner of your mind.
Mock Orange a Memory Makes
Here’s a list of some of my favorite fragrant plants:
- Philadelphus: spring blooming native Northwest shrub (lewesii), a.k.a. mock orange
- Clethra alnifolia: late summer bloom, a.k.a. summersweet, nice billowy shrub, yellow fall color
- Oriental Lily: late summer showstopper, easy to grow, gets better every year
- Gardenia: one of the toughest plants to grow but “frostproof” is a promising variety for northern climes
- Roses: the fragrance of legends (old garden roses and David Austin’s especially fragrant) Abraham Darby, Madame Alfred Carriere, Golden Celebration, Evelyn, Sombriel,
- Acidanthera: Abyssian lily, a tender corm producing gladiola-like leaves and heady delicate blossoms in late summer.
- Honeysuckle: an old garden favorite that seems indestructible and in some places can be invasive depending on variety.
- Lavender: bees love them, people too, need good drainage and good sun
- Marigolds: out of favor for some, but for me a childhood favorite, they’re the smell of summer
- Chinese Wisteria: The dreamiest vines in my garden, keep them low to prune hard for better blooming. (Cooke’s Special is a real standout.)
- Spearmint: a must for ice tea and its rakish cousin, the julep
- Clematis armandii: wonderful evergreen vine that’s blooms in early spring in a blanket of white, seems almost tropical.
- Violets: Viola Odorata, a very early, unassuming spring bloomer with one of my favorites perfumes