Fragrant flowers add another dimension to a garden and give reason to pause. This is a classic fragrant pairing of an old garden rose (Rosa ‘Comte de Chambord’ and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’).
As a child, I was fascinated by the intoxicating scent of my mother’s peonies, which I would pick by the armloads to fill every vase in the house. I had forgotten the joy that sweet scents can bring until years later when I was visiting a garden center and smelled something delicious. I followed my nose to the very back of the nursery. There, standing no taller than my waist was a Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii, USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8) that was soon to become the newest plant in my garden.
After that encounter, I started on a mission to incorporate fragrance into every area of my garden, especially the beds around the deck and near the windows, where I can catch the scents on the breeze while I’m relaxing outside or while I’m inside doing the dishes. The plants I’ve used in the design of my fragrant beds require no special treatment in my garden, and all are hardy to at least Zone 5.
The potency of flower scents varies greatly, so I consider the strength of a fragrance when deciding where to put a plant. I place plants with subtle fragrances close to the house, but strongly perfumed ones usually find homes farther away. For example, I plant sweet peas nearby, but I plant the heavily perfumed ‘Star Gazer’ lily in a more distant bed so I get only a whiff of its scent on a breeze.