945_ml-lilyWhen considering new plants for the garden or when expanding or revamping areas in the garden it is worth considering those plants that excel in giving off scent. Scent in the garden creates its own peaceful atmosphere and is especially relaxing. Scent does not necessarily come from the flowers as many plants also have scented leaves and in this latter category come many of the well known herbs that are used in our cooking.

The main purpose for flowers to give off scent is to attract pollinators and different plants have evolved to give off either daytime scent to attract those creatures that are active during the warm parts of the day, or night time scent to attract nocturnal pollinators. The strongest scent in many cases is given off at dawn and dusk although this maybe our perception as generally this is the stillest, quietest time of the 24 hour cycle, but it is certainly the time when many insects, especially hawk moths, are busiest flitting between the flower blooms.

Perhaps the plant that most people associate with scent is the rose and this goes back hundreds if not thousands of years to the species rose that grow in many parts of the world. The Damask rose is still used today in many of the commercial perfumes that are sold around the world. But alas today very few of the roses that are sold as cut flowers for the house carry scent and ones natural reaction at seeing a perfect rose is to bend to smell it to be met with disappointment. Fortunately there are many garden rose varieties that are heavily scented, whether they are shrub roses, climbers, or patio plants for containers.Scented flowers can be found in all categories of plants. For example scented flowers in climbing plants includes Honeysuckle (Lonicera), the white flowering Stephanotis, and the white flowering Jasmine, which is in bloom in August. Also there is the white flowering False Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), with either the normal bright green foliage or the variegated leaf variety.

Scented flowering shrubs includes many of the Buddlejas with the strong honey scent of Buddleja salvifolia carrying quite a long distance. Also in the shrub category comes the well known Frangipani (Plumeria) and Datura (Brugmansia), both of which have several different varieties providing a range of colours and sizes. Scented bulbous plants of course includes the well know lilies. There are many different species and varieties but perhaps the best known garden plant is the tall stately Lilium formosanum with its large white flowers and brightly coloured stamens. Perhaps the strongest scented flower of all is the popular Tuberosa Lily, Polianthes tuberosa, where scent of one cut flower will fill the house entirely and can be quite overpowering. For some people however the scent of some lilies can bring on an allergy and while the scent is acceptable in the garden cannot be tolerated in the house. Of the herbaceous plants perhaps Heliotrope or Cherry Pie is a favourite for many gardeners, with its gentle scent and mauve or purple flowers.

Scented foliage is well represented in most herbs, whether it be mints, thyme, rosemary, oregano or many of the others. Also for scented foliage are many Pelargoniums (sometimes called geraniums) with a tremendous range of species and varieties in all sizes from large to tiny with an amazing range of scents of the crushed leaves. Of the indigenous plants there are many in the Labiate family which includes many species of Plectranthus, Aeolanthus, Salvias and others with attractive scented foliage.

Lastly let us not over look the trees where there are many with scented flowers but of particular note is the indigenous Rothmannia urcelliformis, which can fill the valley side with scent.






Lilium formosanum