Investigating the wonderful world of aromatic plants
While there are certain flowers renowned for their scent, modern hybridization has sometimes bred out that asset in favor of others like blossom size, color, or other desired improvements.
That is a reason to find and plant heirloom varieties, or go by personal experience and word of mouth advice. Old fashioned roses, sweet peas, dianthus (pinks), heritage varieties of annuals are plants to seek out for their original intensity of scent.
This summer I made the acquaintance with phlox in the most delightful way. In the still air they filled the garden with sweet perfume, and I was very cognizant of how calming that is to the mind. Aromatherapy is more than a fad- it is healing to be drawn into breathing deeper and relaxing; and that is what such good smells convince us to do.
The old fashioned purplish varieties smell the sweetest.
Certain seasons hold their own delights: think of spring lilacs, late spring peonies, summer roses, late summer oriental lilies, all give their distinctive aromatic atmosphere to the garden's seasons.
The time of day influences the experience of the scent, and weather conditions also impact the release of the volatile oils that impress our sense of smell.
What one person finds delightful might be somewhat unpleasant to another. Flowers such as Cleome or Cimifuga are two I find unpleasant, as well as Crambe cordifolia, although I like all of them visually. I wonder, too, if the combining of scents makes a difference.
Some components of a perfume are not altogether attractive on their own, but given a pairings with other notes become the depth or counterpoint of bitterness that the whole needed to
become the complex recipe that we find pleasing.
Coumarin, used in perfumes, is the fragrance we perceive when brushing sweet woodruff, or passing by a new mown lawn. Oakmoss is another factor, and a woodsy area can have a fragrant atmosphere of its own. Roses are universally loved for their scent, but did you know that there are many types of rose scents to experience?
From apple, to musk and balsam, clove, myrrh, and tea to delight and soothe with sweet variety. Descriptions of "Musk" or "Lemon" are indicators of a flowers scent. Lemon thyme has always been a favorite of mine, Mimulus moschatus is called "Musk Flower", and grape hyacinths are reminiscent of grape "musk".
It is easy to include sweet scent in a garden plan, and I have a definite bias towards a rose with a sweet aroma over one that is missing it.
Something which is so much a part of the joy of living should not be missing. But that is just my opinion.