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April 8, 2013

Make fragrance a focal point with these classic flowers

by Debra Anchors

Fragrant flowers lure us into the garden, and keep us there.  The spicy scent of lily-of-the-valley may remind us of a favorite neighbor, while a whiff of honeysuckle transports us back to childhood summers in the country.  We accept the beautiful aromas of the garden as gifts meant for us personally, even though they are intended strictly for the birds and the bees.  Nearsighted pollinators rely on fragrance to guide them to nectar-filled blossoms;  like us, they may become intoxicated and find themselves unable to leave a favorite flower.  Just as some insects are attracted to specific plants, we humans have our individual preferences. What are yours?

Gardenia - Image by Harley Seaway
These heavy fragrances can dominate a room when they are cut and brought indoors or planted beneath a window:

- Oriental lilies (Lilium)
- Tuberoses (Polianthes)
- Mock orange (Philadelphus)
- Gardenia
- Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana   alata)


Subtle fragrances announce their presence without shouting:

- Lily-of-the-valley
- Roses
- Peonies
- Violets (Viola)
- Bearded iris (Iris x germanica)
- Four-o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)
- Sweet peas (especially heirloom varieties)

Magnolia - Image by Kevin Frates

Spicy scents have lent their heady, intriguing aromas to gardens for centuries:

- Magnolias
- Salvias
- Garden pinks (Dianthus)
- Heliotrope (Heliotropium)
- Freesias
- Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum)

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