12 Plants for a Deliciously Scented Garden

I walk outside into my garden, in the dappled light that’s still lingering past 10 PM. It’s a few days past midsummer; my work day is long over, but the daylight outside makes it impossible to think about going to sleep.

After a hot day, the air has cooled and there’s a gentle breeze that carries all the scents of the garden. The first one to greet me is the sweet fragrance of honeysuckle. I close my eyes instinctively, just for a couple of seconds, in order to heighten my sense of smell.

Honeysuckle is a fragrance that I often associate with midsummer nights.

Suddenly, I’m sitting across from my grandma and her sister. They’re merrily chatting away sitting at a table under an arch of sweet honeysuckle as the dusk settles on another hot midsummer day. I’m thumbing through a picture book while surreptitiously listening to their lighthearted gossip. My five-year-old self doesn’t understand much, but what a glorious night to be allowed to stay up late at the adult’s table.

I open my eyes again and I’m back in my own garden. It’s three decades later and both women have long gone to a more peaceful place. I think to myself that, even three decades from now, the scent of honeysuckle is bound to trigger this core memory again.

In my garden, honeysuckle and star jasmine tangle in a sweet scented dance.

I’m sure that you, too, have a scent that you associate with a particular time, place or person in your past. That’s because the sense of smell is hardwired to the emotional centers in the brain – the amygdala and the hippocampus. And until about the age of ten years old, our scent is the most developed of our senses.

As gardeners, we’re generally visual people, so we usually tend to focus on how the plants look, their colors and their height. But what if we designed a garden with scent in mind?

Here are some of my favorite plants that will make your garden smell heavenly.



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