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2014 Fragrance in the Garden

Fragrance in the Garden by Jean Atkinson, Richbar Golf and Gardens

There are many ways to add fragrance in the garden with annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs.

The annual Alyssum White Knight adds fragrance and colour all season long in containers. Masses of white fragrant flowers won’t fade later on in summer as other alyssums do. It is also a big improvement on Alyssum Snow Princess as it has a better behaved growth habit. Snow Princess tended to overpower other plants, whereas White Knight is more compact. It pairs nicely with Supertunias and trailing Verbena in the sun or part sun. This Proven Winner doesn’t require dead heading and apparently is not appreciated by deer.

You can actually see people do a double take when they walk by baskets that have Nemesia in the mix. It has a sweet delicious fragrance. Make sure you have some growing by an open window, or on your patio. Easy to grow, Opal Innocence is a new Proven Winner for us this year. This award winner has pastel lavender blooms and keeps blooming all summer in the sun or part sun.

Finding fragrant roses is not as easy as it seems. Many have been breed for colour and fragrance has fallen to the wayside. Fragrant hardy shrub roses that come to mind are three old standbys, Hansa, Theresa Bugnet and Blanc de Coubert. These zone 3 plants are tough, drought tolerant and easy to grow.

When it comes to ordering hybrid tea roses, Anne’s main criteria for ordering is based on fragrance. The hybrid tea rose, Canadian Sunset is new for us this season and we look forward to smelling the large double blooms of red with yellow reverse.

With a name like, Ribes odoratum Crandall, you know it has to be fragrant. This plant is often referred to as ‘spicebush or ‘clove currant’. The lightly, aromatic bright yellow flowers bloom for about two weeks in spring. It is also ornamental in fall when it turns brilliant red. The berries are larger than other currants and taste sweeter but lack the musky flavor of true black currants. I’m all for using ornamentals in the edible landscape.

One of my all-time favorite fragrances comes from the perennial variegated iris, Iris pallida Albovariegata. It smells just like grape bubble gum! When it blooms in the perennial house I can’t help myself and tell customers ‘You have to smell this!

Finally, a couple of fragrant trees that are definitely worth mentioning are the Japanese Tree Lilac and the Linden. We have a Japanese Tree lilac planted next to our deck. The tree is covered in fragrant creamy white flowers in early summer. Lindens are valuable stately, shade trees. The flowers aren’t showy but the sweet fragrance is heavenly.

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