African Garden + water

Scent and Sensibility

Scent - it's that intangible element that adds so much to the garden experience. That is especially true now, when the Phlox paniculatas and the Hosta plantaginea are blooming. The scent of these flowers pervades the air, they are not stingy with their perfume, unlike other flowers that demand a nose be immersed in pollen. I wish there was a way to capture the scent in a photo, sort of like John Waters' idea of presenting the film "Pink Flamingos" in "Odorama" (but without the bad smells).

Scent is usually far down the list in qualities I require in a plant before I include it in the garden. The priority rank is something like this:



  • Ability to survive in my garden without major irrigation or fertilizer

  • Attractive form or foliage and the texture of the foliage (no spikes or thorns)

  • Disease and pest resistance

  • Wildlife attractiveness (meaning birds, bees and butterflies)

  • Scent and Flower color (not orange) are tied

  • Lack of thuggishness

Whether I put flower color considerations above those of scent depends on my mood, the strength of the scent, and whether such a plant usually is scented. I don't grow any roses, but if I did, it would have to be a scented one, because a rose without a scent just isn't a rose to me.

Now, if it would just stop raining and the mosquitos would die, I could sit out on my patio and enjoy the scent of my garden. We've had over 9 inches of rain this month - enough!

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Scent and Sensibility + water