This week’s article is quite personal for me. My favorite fragrant flowers all evoke memories of special people and times in my life and I bet it might be the same way for many other gardeners. A fragrant flower can leave an imprint on your heart that you never forget and every time that smell is in the air it brings a little happiness to your soul.
So I hope you’ll indulge me as I share my 5 favorite fragrant flowers with all of you:
Carolina Allspice - I grew up calling this flower a “pineapple bush”. I’d make it a point to stop and smell the flowers each evening when I would “tour” the garden to see if anything new was blooming since the day before. It is actually a deciduous shrub which in addition to its fruity fragrance also has leaves which when crushed have a spicy odor as well. The flowers appear in the spring and continue into the summer and while the blooms are small and sometimes lost within the foliage you can’t miss the fragrance. It is a useful shrub as it can grow in sun and shade as well as a range of soil conditions.
Easter Lily - One of the things I recall from every Easter Sunday in my childhood was the fragrance of the Easter Lilies that permeated the sanctuary. Each Easter we would have a lily placed on the altar in memory of my Grandfather and after the service, we would take this lily with its beautiful white flowers home. I remember reading an article about how you could try to transplant this plant into your garden and you can imagine my delight when the next year it actually sprouted. It did not flower the first year but the following year it had regained enough energy to bloom and fill my yard with its heavenly fragrance. It actually bloomed in June rather that at Easter but that really didn’t matter. The fact that it bloomed at all was enough of a reward.
Gardenia - Few flowers can rival the Gardenia in terms of its beauty or fragrance! My Grandmother grew them in Florida where they were more shrub-like. It is highly sensitive to cold temperatures so in most areas of the country, it is a houseplant. It has a deserved reputation as a temperamental beauty but once you smell its aroma you’ll know it is worth all the trouble. If you would like more information on how to grow Gardenias just click on this link and read our Stop and Smell the Gardenias article.
Honeysuckle - I fell in love with the fragrance of Honeysuckle in the most unusual way. While my house was under construction the common area behind it was a mess of weeds and tall dirt mounds. Yet, while mowing the grass I always came across this distinctive and pleasing fragrance. Eventually, I found it originated from a vine that turned out to be wild Honeysuckle. I liked this fragrance so much that I took a piece of the vine and trained it into a shrub. To this day during the spring, the fragrance from this Honeysuckle permeates my yard and reaches into my kitchen.
Lilac - This shrub was my Grandfather’s favorite so I grow it in his memory. Each spring the pretty purple flowers open and fill the air with their pleasing scent. Lilacs also make a great cut flower so you can enjoy their fragrance inside your home as well as outside. Lilacs need full sun and locations with good air circulation to prevent diseases such as powdery mildew. Removing 1/3 of the branches each year, a process known as thinning, will keep the shrub healthy and any pruning should be done after the shrub finishes blooming. If you have questions about pruning Lilacs please check out our article that tells you how to do it. Click here.
I would love to hear about your favorite fragrant flowers so please post them on our Facebook page and share them with all of us.