You go out into your garden and inhale and instantly, aromatic scents delight you. Wait, what’s that fragrance? Can you tell the different flowers by how they smell? How is scent produced in a flower? There are lots of ways of predicting which flowers will produce the most heavenly scents for your garden.
How is the scent of a flower produced?
Just as no two snowflakes are alike, no two flowers smell exactly the same, even if they look almost identical. This is because the compounds that attract pollinators in each flower vary from flower to flower. Even the colour and structure of the plant attracting these pollinators have a purpose. So, one flower in the same species on the same plant may be more attractive to a bee, for example, than another flower of its kind on the same bush.
Obviously too, the scents and colours aren’t really for you. When you detect a scent, its real purpose is in sending directions to a pollinator. Come hither! When the bee or other pollinator goes to that flower, the pollen or nectar is its sweet reward.
If the plant’s species is pollinated by a beetle, the scent is spicy, fruity or musty to attract them. If bees or flies are the pollinators, the perfume is sweet. When the plant is ready for pollination, the scent is full-on, and pollinators are active. When the flower releases its scent at night, it attracts moths and bats. If the fragrance is released during the day, bees and butterflies are drawn to it.
Types of fragrant flowers
No matter what the type of garden you have, whether it’s formal or cottage-style, always consider the perfume of a flower when planting. The scent is often overlooked when planting to fill a spot around the home. You should plant fragrant plants where you can best appreciate the aroma. Maybe by a window, so that when it’s open, the fragrance will waft into the room. Or perhaps, outside your door so that when you step outside, it’s the first thing you smell.
To bring out the fragrance in your garden, consider planting some of these plants:
Sweet Alyssum: This plant grows in dense clusters topped with little yellowish and white flowers. It’s an annual and blooms during spring with a sweet scent. These are a native of the Mediterranean region and are often used in bouquets. Rose: Did you know that there are about 100 species of roses or that they are used to make perfume? Many gardens have at least one rose bush because it’s one of the most popular flowers in the world. When buying a rose bush for your garden, look for scented ones.
Phlox: If you plant Phlox in a large grouping, it can be sensational. The flower comes in purples, salmon, white, pink, red and bi-colours. It usually self-seeds, so when planted, they’re pretty self-sufficient.
Gardenia: The Gardenia has a waxy appearance, almost as if it’s not real. It’s a member of the coffee family and native to South Asia, Africa, and Australia. The Gardenia is often used in wedding bouquets and perfumes.
Jasmine: A native of tropical regions worldwide, it’s one of most fragrant flowers in the world. It blooms in spring and summer, and its fragrance is most intense at night and during a full moon. Its small flowers are white and yellowish, and are often used in cosmetics and perfumes. The flowers also have a role in aromatherapy and dried Jasmine is used for making tea.
Four O’clock: The Four O’clock gets its name because of blooming late afternoon and into the evening. When it blooms, the intense aroma lingers if it’s warm. It grows in a variety of colours, and in combinations of white, yellow and pink. You can even find different coloured blossoms on the same plant.
Stock: This flower comes in pink, purple, white, red and yellow. All have a clove-like spicy scent. This flower is an annual which can be cultivated from seed. If planted in a sunny spot which is well drained, they’ll bloom all season from spring to summer. Also, as a cut flower, they have a long vase life.
Scented Geranium: It’s not just the blooms that gardeners love but the leaves as well. Since the leaves have glands at the base of the leaf hairs, it’s where the famous aroma comes from when crushed. After the leaf is broken, it releases the scent of the oil. Depending on which variety you buy, the scent can smell like apple, lemon, apricot, strawberry or mint. These plants will bloom for from spring to summer.
Lavender: Lavender is an herb which is popular for so many reasons. The purpose of Lavender in essential oils is because of its calming and relaxing properties. When it’s used along walkways or in perennial gardens, the tall purple-blue flowers release a drifting scent. Lavender loves well-drained soil and full sun. If you have poor soil around your home, it will grow nicely in pots.
Peony: Often thought of as a staple in your grandmother’s garden, Peonies are making a comeback. It’s a perennial with dark green leaves and will take some staking to keep the flower heads from drooping. If a Peony is planted too deep, it won’t bloom. It prefers the full sun. The flowers are lush, full and scented. Don’t mind the ants; they’re just drinking the nectar.
Hyacinth: The Hyacinth’s heady breathtaking scent is the best sign of spring. The bulbs come in shades of red, white, blue, purple, orange, pink or yellow. Every colour has its own noticable scent with bell-shaped flowers packed densely together. If planted under a window, the sweet scent is intoxicating.
Flowers which are highly aromatic can brighten your day as well as sweetening the air. One sniff is all it takes to transport you to a place of grace and beauty.