Plants to bring you a glorious fragrance all year round | Gardening tips


Shundred is arguably our most instinctive of our senses, with the power to instantly bring us back to childhood and transform our mood with a single fleeting puff. Perhaps this is why it is difficult to measure and is the least scientifically studied of the senses, especially when it comes to plant scents.

Although perfume is a multibillion pound industry, the academic literature still contains surprisingly few studies on the profound effect botanical scent can have on our mental well-being. So until the science geeks do their thing, here is a list of five of the most fragrant flowers that will keep you enjoying the mystery of botanical scent all year round.

“A richly sweet scent of vanilla and rose”: Daphne. Photograph: Robyn Mackenzie / Alamy

Blossoming when you need it most, Daphne’s delicate pink blossoms begin to open when winter days are darkest, filling the air with a richly sweet scent of vanilla and rose, like a vintage scent. What I love most about them is that you often smell them long before you see them, sending you to search for the source of the incredible aroma in the garden. Produced on small shrubs to fit into small spaces (they even do well in pots), they perfume your plot from February to April.

I once went to a flower market in downtown Riga in the 1990s. An entire city street was filled with dozens of vendors selling the most amazing arrangements using just one species: Sweet peas. . The scent of its ruffled pastel petals will forever be a flashback to this one summer day. Sown the previous fall, the plants will start producing their very first flowers from May, until at least July. To maximize the length of their season, pick the flowers regularly – as this triggers hormones that lead to the formation of new buds – and keep the plants well nourished and watered.

Probably the most flowering fragrant plant there is, Trachelospermum will launch a continuous display of starry white flowers from May through August, which can be so dense that they almost choke their leaves. The intensity of their scent is just as unbeatable and hot summer days can be almost irresistible. A scent of yesteryear that reminds me of fancy hand cream, the dense leaves of the plant make it the perfect way to dress up a concrete wall in living green, or to mask an eyesore with fragrant wonder.

Buddleja flowers are a real magnet for bees, providing them with a food source from September to October, when most of the native flowers are long gone. Their abundance on wasteland and railroads gives you an indication of their ease of cultivation.

Ultimately, Mahonia x media will end the year with sprays of sulfur yellow blooms and a heady orange blossom aroma for months on end, taking you to the first Daphne blooms in February.

Follow Jacques on Twitter @Botanygeek

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