Your garden can be scentsational,
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Fragrances are a part of spring. Newly sprouted vegetation.
Rain-soaked soil. Perfumed blossoms. Scents that make you begin to think about your
home landscape and how it will look this year.
"Many plants have a strong fragrance you can enjoy when you start to open windows to let in fresh spring air," says Bruno Moser, nursery and landscape specialist for the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service and a professor of horticulture. "You routinely have scents around, like perfume, aftershave, potpourri and room deodorizer. Life is full of scents, but you often don't think of them in the landscape."
Plants produce essential oils, Moser explains. Some are in the flowers, and some are in the leaves. When the weather warms, the oils evaporate into the air, resulting in a fragrance. Aromatic foliage, however, must be crushed for the scent to escape. He says the scent from aromatic plants may be enjoyed while the plant is fresh, but once it's dried, much of the aroma is gone.
Moser recommends using fragrant plants under windows that'll be open; around patios, decks and porches; and along walkways. He says some people prefer to disperse aromatic plants around the yard and garden so they get a pleasant surprise when they come upon them. Others like to concentrate aromatic plants in one area for a stronger effect. He cautions that different scents may conflict and be overpowering, so care should be taken in selection.
"When you buy aromatic plants, buy them in bloom so you know what you're getting," he suggests. "Or visit a botanical garden, a neighbor's garden or a garden center. Smell for the ones you like. Everybody's sense of smell is different. What may be appealing to one person may be overpowering to others."
Also, he says, some varieties of a plant may not be as fragrant as others, so it may be helpful to talk to someone with horticultural expertise to avoid the disappointment of purchasing the wrong one.
Aromatic plants come in many sizes, shapes and colors, according to Moser. Some of his favorites include:
Source: Bruno Moser, (765) 494-1352; e-mail,
Writer: Andrea McCann, (765) 494-8406; e-mail,
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lilacs are among the most fragrant flowering shrubs. Purdue landscape expert Bruno Moser suggests using aromatic plants when landscaping as a way to enjoy both the sights and smells of the foliage around your home. (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger)
Color photo, electronic transmission, and Web and ftp download available. Photo ID: Moser.aroma