Summer evenings are fabulous for enjoying the sweet and yes, romantic scents of your garden. Summer on the prairies is short so spending as much time as possible outside is always recommended. If you have a spot in your garden that you frequent in the evening…. or even in the later evening then plan to plant to include marvelous scent. Better yet, plant a window box or other suitable planting outside your bedroom window. As the cool night air wafts into your bedroom, it could carry the evocative scents of a host of truly exotic flowers that might only bloom at night.
Many of the night blooming plants are very sweetly scented and will emit their fragrance at night in order to attract insects for pollination. Some of my favourite scented plants like wisteria, magnolia and gardenia will not survive in our prairie climate – but there are lots of scented plants we can grow very well.
For the best lemon scent (and taste) in the world plant some lemon verbena. It is a truly delicious scent that conjures up the extreme pleasure of sucking on lemon sherbet sweets. Tangy on the outside while at the same time being extremely refreshing on the inside. On the prairies this is a tender herb that is best grown in a container of some kind. Bring it inside in the autumn, give it a variety of life support treatment before you finally cut it back, let it rest in preparation of another summer outside.
Other annuals that have lots of scent for summer include any of the scented geraniums. Lemon, peppermint, rose and even chocolate scents are available. You might also get the added benefit of enjoying them inside for at least part of the winter. A must for every garden is evening scented stock. This is a rather small plant that comes to life after dark to reveal purple flowers that carry a wonderful spicy scent that will literally ambush those in close proximity.
A couple of other great choices are nicotiana and heliotrope. Nicotiana (a member of the tobacco family) is a simply splendid flower that becomes intensely scented at night. The ivory flowers are most scented but it also is available in pink, red, and green. Heliotrope is a temperate perennial native to Peru and should be planted in full sun but in a rich humus soil that is kept evenly moist.
Brugmansia is a fast-growing bushy plant with large trumpet-like flowers. They are extremely fragrant with a spicy, exotic scent. Please do be cautious as all parts of this plant are poisonous.
Even though we garden in a rather extreme climate, it is still possible to grow lavender as an annual. Give it full sun and well-drained soil. The purple to white flowers are a marvel and emit a very complex scent. Once harvested the aroma will subtly change as the days pass by.
Our hardy shrub roses are not to ever be ignored in the scent category. Rosa rugosa is an old time rose that is not the best to view or grow but makes up for any shortcoming in beauty by its truly exquisite scent. On the hottest days’ plan to place your nose close to the warm summer scent of a rugosa rose blossom and create a memory that is truly unequaled.
Other favourites that surely should not be forgotten include sweet peas, lilac, mock orange and thyme.
Hanbidge is the Lead Horticulturist with Orchid Horticulture. Find us at www.orchidhort.com; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; on Facebook @orchidhort and on Instagram at @orchidhort. Tune into GROW Live on our Facebook page or check out the Youtube channel GROW.