Most plant choices here in the Fairegarden are based on looks. Certain colors of flowers or foliage, berry production, drought and cold tolerance are all considerations when shopping or adding to the wish list. There are but a few that get to join the forces for garden good based on the way they smell. Hyacinths have great beauty and are faithful friends, returning each year with a head snapping fragrance that is nearly overwhelming. Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Purple Sensation’ and orange tulips from Walmart are slipped into a container until their bloom period is finished, then they are moved in ground. This type of purchase has been going on for several years since the fall planted bulbs seem to be a favorite of digging squirrels. The colors available are limited of the preplanteds barely peeking out of the potting mix that are set on the shelves in late winter, but the success rate has been good. They are planted outside in pots or straight into the garden at a time when the existing residents are visible, also just barely peeking at the cold light of day. Immediately after this image was captured, the square red pot was emptied, its inhabitants planted out and new spring purchases alleviated the emptiness.
The vision of the chartreuse Heuchera ‘Citronelle’ highlighted by the same color trumpet of N. ‘Sinopel’ has come to fruition, possibly for the first time ever. Sinopel is so late to open that often the temperatures in our region have reached summer like high eighty degrees, causing the petals to droop sadly before crisping and falling off. When this shot was taken, it was 88F, but the flowers remain intact.
The number one reason to plant lilacs, not counting the fact that it is a plant from my childhood home, full of wonderful memories, strongly scented ones, is for the perfume exuded by these light lavender flowers. In our zone 7 garden, we are at the southern end of the range for Syringa vulgaris. Lilacs need chill hours, like most hybrid tulips, to produce flowers. The harsh winter of 2010-2011 provided more than enough cold for good blooming.
Beautiful, yes, but for the Erysimum family, wondrous wafting sweetness is a prime reason for its existence here. Click to read more about them in an older post here-Winter Plant Portrait-Wallflowers,Erysimum, if you are so inclined.
Placement is primary when dealing with heavenly scented flowers. The wallflowers have colonized the gravel paths and beds under the garage deck, filling the atmosphere with perfume as we putter with projects there. Hummingbirds have been seen recently partaking of the sweet nectar from this patch. Some have been moved to other locations, like the raised veggie box, with new colors added to enliven the gene pool.
Honey scented, also receiving treatment in a dedicated post that can be seen by clicking here-Fothergilla is the native Fothergilla gardenii.
A massed planting at the corner where the path pavement changes from gravel to concrete stepping stones, the former property line before the house next door was purchased, demolished and the garage built in its place offers a stopping point to smell the flowers while continuing up and down the hillside of daily endeavors. As with so many things, these have also been spread about from rooted suckers, but this is the best patch of them.
Cheer bringing visuals are brought about by the collection of deciduous azaleas. Some of these large shrubs also have various scents, the most highly perfumed is Rhododendron ‘Admiral Semmes’, which is also one of the first to bloom. A definitive listing can be seen on the Plants We Grow-Deciduous Azaleas page on the sidebar and more information gleaned here-Azaleas 2010-Deciduous, that is.
And so begins the most glorious time in the Fairegarden. I hope you’ll come and sit awhile. Be sure and bring all of your senses. Up next, roses!