I had the most delightful gardening experience today and it was all about the nose!
I was down on my hands and knees weeding around my herb garden. I leaned over the lavender (Lavendula augustifolia) to get around my rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and got a good whiff of lavender . As I came back on my feet I knocked the rose geranium and got that lovely musky rose smell. I then checked my pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) for aphids, rubbing the leaves for good measure and mm-hmm, I’m all over that pineapple scent!
It was an olfactory delight and made me realise that to have a dedicated scented garden really would be beneficial to the soul. (My wee patch there is purely by haphazard chance).
Creating a Scented Garden
Most scented gardens are about the smell of flowers so to have a scented garden that’s all about the foliage the plants need to be near pathways or areas where they will get brushed against or easily touched.
Other plants you could use in your touchy feel-y scented garden include the Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata) I think we had these around my primary school in Nelson! Gum Cistus (Cistus ladanifer) within the same genus as the Rock Rose, great for dry coastal gardens. Gum cistus has a resinous juice similar to myrrh. Myrtus species have a pleasant aromatic smell when the leaves are crushed; Ramarama (Myrtus bullata or Lophomyrtus bullata) is a New Zealand native as is ‘Matai Bay’ ~ a selected form discovered at Matai Bay in Pelorous Sound, superior to M. Bullata according to Palmer’s Manual of Trees, Shrubs and Climbers. Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla)~ make sure that this one is on the way to the kitchen so you can make yourself a lovely cup of fresh lemon verbena tea!
If you really wanted to go to town with your scented garden, plant creeping thymes for the pathways. Chamomile ‘Treneague’ (roman chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile) and Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii) can also withstand being trodden on whilst releasing their perfumes.
Hey, you know how a lot of companion plants have strong scents? Well they do actually need to be broken, knocked or brushed for ‘companion planting’ to be effective! A-ha!!
Are there any plants that I’ve missed that you would have in your (touch activated) scented garden?
P.S. Photo above is from The Frustrated Gardener blog. Based in the UK with a couple of gardens on the go, inner city and coastal.