Fragrant plants and flowers: a garden for the nose

Many plants are not remembered for their beautiful flowers or their great growth, but for their intense scent, which they exude at certain times of the year or day.

Fragrant plants and flowers: a garden for the nose

Many plants are not remembered for their beautiful flowers or their great growth, but for their intense scent, which they exude at certain times of the year or day. They can be cleverly integrated into the garden for a beguiling taster experience.

On a balmy summer evening, as the sun begins to set, the sweet, heavy perfume of Scented Evening Primrose spreads. It doesn't take long before the first night owls arrive to pollinate the freshly opened flowers.

The plant is just one of many green examples that exude a particularly intense floral scent. On the one hand, this is vital for many plants, because they use it to attract beneficial insects or ward off predators. On the other hand, the scent serves as a form of communication between plants. A positive side effect: We humans benefit from the fragrant inhabitants of our gardens. They become all the more of a sensual experience.

"It's not just the eyes, mouth, ears and skin that work as sensory organs, but also the nose," says Sarah Stiller. The book author and blogger from Munich likes to consciously walk through her garden in summer. Her nose immediately notices rose, lilac and elderflowers, she says.

She also smells wild garlic, and with a little more attention you can see the leaves of blackcurrant bushes. However, you sometimes have to help the fragrance development along the way. Scented geraniums or tomatoes, for example, only develop the perfume of the leaves when they are touched.

Sarah Stiller advises choosing only one scent when planning a bed. "One should not mix lemony, spicy or heavy sweet scents together." This makes it easier to integrate individual aromatic plants into an existing plan. If you want to sniff out different directions, it is better to distribute them in different places in the garden.

"In terms of color, it's actually not that difficult to integrate flowers with fragrant blossoms into the garden design," says Sarah Stiller. It is often plants with white or inconspicuous flowers that use a fine perfume to draw attention to themselves.

As examples she mentions the scented stone (Lobularia maritima) and the orange flower (Choisya ternata). The annual mignonette (Reseda odorata) bears tiny cream-colored flowers on the candle-shaped inflorescences, which usually catch the eye first and then the nose.

It is important to Karen Schoebel that scented plants come into their own in a seat. "You can really feel the relaxing effect of the flower perfume in the quiet atmosphere," says the master gardener and owner of a scented nursery in Bergen an der Dumme (Lower Saxony). However, one has to bear in mind that the plants do not always smell the same: like the bloom and presence of individual plants, the range of fragrances also changes from spring to autumn.

While the sweet violets (Viola odorata) exude their fine perfume in spring, the blue-flowering forest phlox (Phlox divaricata), for example, takes over in early summer. Afterwards levkojen (Matthiola incana) fill the air.

And the scent of a garden is not the same at all times of the day: while spring flowers such as hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis) and tulips (Tulipa) already give off their scent in the morning, the summer night scents only unfold their perfume in the evening twilight. The latter include the evening primrose (Oenotherea), the moon violet (Lunaria annua) and the miracle flower (Mirabilis jalapa).

The weather also plays a role: sunlight promotes the development of the scent, wind does not. "The cloud of essential oils only stays in one place when there is no wind," says Sarah Stiller.

Scented plants do not need their own bed. They can also be easily integrated into the kitchen garden. "Scented plants should be used between rows of lettuce, vegetables and fruit to attract beneficial insects and pollinators," advises author Stiller.

In spring you can plant night violets (Hesperis matronalis) in the shady areas near the compost and sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) on a wire trellis. The Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus), a popular cut flower, only needs a little more space in the first half of summer. So it cleverly serves as a placeholder for late cabbage and lettuce varieties.

Other plants in the vegetable bed keep pests away, for example lavender various lice. But above all, the smell of the marigolds (marigolds), which we usually find very harsh and rather unpleasant, serves to protect against pests in the vegetable bed.

By the way: Gardener Karen Schoebel advises that mosquitoes and moths can be kept away from the bedroom if you put the frankincense plant (Plectranthus coleoides) in the boxes by the window.

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