• Plant strawberry plants now for delicious strawberry shortcake this summer.
• Dahlias come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Plant the roots now for flowers this summer.
• Put up hummingbird feeders this month and enjoy these colorful and entertaining birds.
• Begin spraying roses now for insect and disease problems. Neem oil is a good product for a less toxic solution.
• Prepare for planting season! Turn in cover crops and do a soil test if your garden had trouble last year.
Fragrance in the Garden
Nothing conjures up memories of the past the way a familiar scent can. Orange blossoms, jasmine, lavender, fragrant stock, gardenia – even the words seem to perfume the air. To bring back pleasant memories and create some new ones, choose a few plants to place near the door or by the walkway, or fill your garden with wonderful fragrances all season long.
The first plants that wake up our noses in the spring are narcissus, hyacinth and lily-of-the-valley. Not far behind is the sweet-scented daphne, followed by the intensely fragrant flowers of the lilacs.
Chinese wisteria is blooming now with a profusion of fragrant lavender flowers in long clusters. The evergreen clematis vine, with its powerfully fragrant white flowers, adds its sweet scent to the springtime air.
The white snowball bush is another sweet scent in the spring garden and so are the tiny flowers of Sarcococca. Mock orange (Philadelphus) is an old-fashioned favorite with its strongly scented showy white flowers in early summer. The large pompom flowers of peonies bloom in late spring. Place one in a vase in a room, and it will fill the room with its delicate fragrance.
The spring flower bed can be filled with the lovely scents of stock and sweet peas. A carpet of sweet alyssum in purple, rose and white will perfume the air from spring to fall.
Summer brings us lovely lavenders, butterfly bush, star jasmine, lilies, honeysuckle and, of course, roses. Varieties like ‘Rock & Roll’, ‘Fragrant Plum’, and ‘Julia Child’ have all been developed for their strong fragrances. Gardenias bloom in early summer with their legendary sweet fragrance so loved for corsages.
Heliotrope has large violet flower heads with a strong vanilla fragrance in warm weather. It’s hard to find a more sugary fragrance than purple petunias, especially the variety ‘Sugar Daddy’. And ‘Prism Sunshine’ petunia is deliciously scented at night.
The large, beautiful, white flowers of the Southern Magnolia tree bloom in the summer and their heavy fragrance and welcome shade create the perfect place to relax on a hot summer’s day.
Late summer bloomers with strong fragrance include the exotic and heady fragrance of tuberoses. Sweet Autumn Clematis blooms profusely with wonderfully scented tiny white flowers. The pink flowers of Naked Lady Amaryllis have a strong fragrance that wafts on the air.
Don’t overlook the herbs for their fragrant foliage. Rosemary can be grown as a shrub or a ground cover. Thyme has many varieties with scents ranging from lemon and lime to caraway. The mint family has a long list of fragrant varieties as do the basils: lemon, cinnamon, spicy globe and Thai basil. Many Salvias, or sages, have beautiful flowers and fragrant foliage. And it’s hard to walk by a lavender plant without stroking the leaves to release its sweet fragrance. There are lots of other herbs that can help create an edible, fragrant garden.
Fragrance plays an important role in our enjoyment of the garden. Plant some memories in your garden with fragrant plants you’ll enjoy all season.