Scented Summer Gardens

Summer gardens need plenty of scent. Roses are always favourites, but there are many more rich, intriguing scents on offer. With the right choice you can have the fragrance of pineapple (Cytisus battandieri), marzipan (Heliotropium), and even chocolate (Cosmos atrosanguineus). Mix scented plants with showy but less fragrant flowers such as crocosmia and agapanthus to create pretty displays.

Sheltered corners. When growing scented plants, you want the parfume to hang in the air. It is no use growing fragrant honeysuckles, lilies and daphnes in open or windy parts of the garden where the scent will get blown away. You need to grow them in sheltered sites in full sun, where the plants will flower well, and where you can sit and enjoy them to the full.

Good sites are under windows – climbers such as roses and jasmine can even reach bedroom windows – and near doors. A must for patios where you sit outside in the evening is night-scented stock (Matthiola bicornis), which is easy to grow and at dusk its intoxicating perfume hangs heavy in the air.


One of the best lilies you can grow is Lilium regale. Plant it in the autumn, and they will come up every summer bearing large, exciting, white trumpet-shaped flowers with the most amazing scent. They need to grow among other perennials, for example hardy geraniums and penstemons, which can take over once the lilies finish flowering.

Lilium regale

Lilium regale

Extra summer scents. Most of the daphnes flower in the spring, but one that flowers sporadically through the summer is the sweetly-scented Daphne tangutica. Lilacs are big shrubs and trees, and there are some first-rate choices in the 13 ft high range. Syringa pubescens subsp. microphyllaSuperba’ keeps flowering, in bursts, all summer. Syringa x josiflexa ‘Bellicent’ (with pink flowers) is small enough, at 10 ft high, for most gardens, and is heaven in early summer. Other scented shrubs include Philadelphus (mock orange), while Nicotiana sylvestris (tobacco plant) is a good choice of annual. Oenothera biennis is an excellent biennial that self-seeds round the garden. The yellow flowers release their scent in the evening.

SEE ALSO:   Create Your Indoor Herb Garden


Syringa x josiflexa ‘Bellicent’

Highly scented climbers. The top scented summer climbers include roses, honeysuckles and jasmine. One of the best roses is the beautiful bright red ‘Crimson Glory, Climbing’ which has pointed buds, opening to wide, velvet-like petals with a heavy, rich scent. At 16 ft high, most gardens have room for one. ‘Glorie de Dijon’ is a buff yellow, and grows equally high, and if you want one of the darkest of the scented climbing roses, ‘Guinee’ is a striking rich crimson. Put any of these reds near the white jasmine, Jasminum officinale, for a marvellous show. The latter needs to twist and twine around a support, such as a drainpipe up the side of the house or an old, stout tree.





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climbing roses

Oenothera biennis1

Oenothera biennis



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