There are lots of things to consider when planning out your garden like the types of plants and shrubs to grow, how well they grow together, the conditions they thrive in etc. Something you’re maybe less likely to have immediately considered is the fragrance your flowers produce and the impact they can have on you. Yes it might sound strange but our olfactory system (sense of smell) can be used to positively impact our emotions and indeed invoke memories. If you take a walk round your garden after it has rained, you will find that the fragrances of the flowers are much more noticeable. This is because the fragrance molecules travel further when the air is humid.
It’s thought that flowers produce fragrance to attract the insects that pollinate them. For example, the Nicotiana produces a scent in the evening to attract it’s nocturnal pollinator the moth. Nasty smelling flowers such as the carrion flower smell like the rotting flesh their pollinators are attracted to.
When positioning scented plants there are a few things that should be taken into consideration. Firstly, how is the scent released? Is it a travelling scent like cistus or rosa primula? In which case it can be placed deeper into your borders as the scent floats on the air. Some shrub leaves require to be rubbed before any scent is released and would be best placed at the front of your border or in pots. Some plants reveal their scent as the temperature cools later on in the day in which case would be best placed near where you would sit in your garden in the evening.
Night Scents – Nicotiana sylvestris, wisteria and petunias.
Travelling Scents – Sweet Autumn Clematis, Oriental Lily and Roses.
Scented shrubs – lavender, rosemary and thyme.