Cape Town - There is nothing nicer than strolling through a beautiful garden that is bursting with colour, particularly if you can close your eyes and breathe in the heady perfume of fragrant flowers. The lingering scent is intoxicating and, depending on the time of day, has different perfumes.
Traditionally, everyone associates fragrance with the rose, but there are so many other plants that tempt you to stop and smell them. Stodels nurseries offers some tips on how you can fill your garden with fragrant flowering plants.
Ideal for entertainment areas is the scented violet, mauve and white-flowered yesterday-today-and-tomorrow (Brunfelsia pauciflora) or the white flowered Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata) with plain green leaves. A wide variety of gardenias, heliotrope, mini carnations and perrenial alyssum are all excellent for pots on semi-shaded patios and decks.
Around a garden bench in a sheltered spot plant Philadephus (mock-orange) with orange and jasmin-scented flowers and the evergreen Murraya paniculata with richly scented clusters of white flowers. This murraya can also be grown as a rounded shrub or clipped as a “lollipop” standard.
Small aromatic shrubs that release their scent when the plants are touched or brushed against, such as lavender and rosemary, are ideal to plant alongside paths and walkways.
Another low-growing plant that has a lavender scent is lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus) with finely cut leaves of silvery grey and tiny pom-pom yellow flowers in summer. Plants with silver-grey foliage also have value at night as they show up in moonlight. For something a little different, grow the indigenous wild rosemary (Eriocephalus africanus) with grey aromatic foliage and tiny white flowers or thyme.
Outside a window, breathe in the delicate scent of the waxy white flowers of the starry wild Jasmine multipartitum and the honey-scented little trumpet flowers of Freylinia lanceolata.
Climbing roses that have a rich fragrance include Double Delight, which has strongly fragrant cream flowers with dark red edges, Blue Moon, with its delicate lavender blooms and Buff Beauty, a hybrid musk, bearing trusses of buff-apricot blooms.
The indigenous white gardenia (Gardenia thunbergia) bears masses of white, heavily fragrant flowers, plus it is semi-hardy and can be planted in sun or semi-shade. The buddleja (false olive), also indigenous, has tiny tubular, highly scented flowers, it is frost hardy, fast-growing and drought-resistant and an added bonus is that it attracts butterflies. Agathosma ovata (false buchu) has dark green fragrant leaves and the leaves of Heteropyxis natalensis are lavender-scented.
Trachelospermum Jasminoides (star jasmine) is an evergreen with fragrant, starry-white flowers that can be grown as a climber, ground cover, clipped hedge or standard. Scented pelargoniums are grown for their leaves that release a lemon, orange, rose, peppermint, nutmeg or balsam scent.
And into the night: Plants that release their fragrance in the evening include the tuberose, lilies, jasmine, honeysuckle and some orchids. White flowers glow at night and will add a visual element to your evening garden too. White hydrangeas and rose-like blooms of gardenia are perfect candidates. Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow (Brunfelsia pauciflora or “Eximia”) and frangipani are just as eye and nose-catching when in full bloom.
“And some fragrant plants have additional uses,” points out Nick Stodel, managing director of Stodels. “A pelargonium, known as the ‘Mozzie Buster’, produces the smell of citronella oil which is excellent for repelling mosquitoes.
“There are so many plants that offer a variety of fragrances,” he says, “from smaller flowering ones to scented climbers, as well as the gorgeous sweet perfume of all the flowers of citrus fruits.
“Fill your world with fragrance this summer. Chat to one of our 43 horticulturists for advice and remember, where possible, keep your garden indigenous, not only are they beautiful and fragrant, but also water wise.”