Joseph Tychonievich has an excellent article on fragrant plants for the garden in the most recent issue of Fine Gardening. (A brief digression: the most recent issue of Fine Gardening is the June issue. The June issue arrived at my house on March 27th. I don’t mean to be picky, but this makes me feel a bit disoriented as to time, or as if I lived in a localized time warp that lagged eight weeks behind the rest of the universe.)
Anyhow, back to fragrant plants. The reason I said this was an excellent article is that it talks about plants that 1) I have never heard of; and 2) now that I have heard of them I must have them.
For example, Bush Clematis (Clematis heracleifolia). I didn’t even know there was such a thing. But there is (or Joseph Tychonievich is making things up just to be cruel). It is a compact, upright and mounding plant that grows in sun or part shade, is hardy to USDA zone 5, and has long-blooming flowers that smell like Hyacinths. Where has this plant been all my life, and why have I never noticed it in a catalog or at the garden center?
Here’s another one that is completely new to me: Pale Evening Primrose (Oenothera pallida). This is a well-behaved Evening Primrose, “intensely fragrant, smelling of almond and jasmine”, according to the article. Allegedly it flowers from late spring to frost, and is hardy from zone 7 all the way north to zone 3.
I won’t list all the plants described in this article, but I do want to mention one more, one which I had heard of but had no idea that it was fragrant: Thimbleberry (Rubus odoratus). Although given the botanical name you’d think I would have guessed. Anyhow, this is an easy plant native to eastern North America. It produces fruits that are like little raspberries (it’s in the same genus with raspberries and blackberries).
The best fragrant plants I’ve grown in my garden to date are Oriental Lilies, Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata – smells like vanilla), Clove Currant (Ribes Odoratus), and Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima). But I love fragrant plants, so I’m definitely going to try to make room for some aromatic newcomers.
Do you have your eye on any new fragrant plants for your garden? What are the sweet-scented favorites that you grow now?