About Central Florida Gardener

Welcome and thank you for visiting Central Florida Gardener. Florida is a unique state in which to garden. It can be frustrating but also rewarding for gardeners who persevere. This blog was created as a resource for Florida gardeners, both new and experienced, in search of information specifically for Florida gardens.

You are invited to participate by leaving your comments, suggestions, tips and recommendations relevant to Florida gardening - don't be shy! Thank you for dropping by to learn more about gardening in the Sunshine state. I look forward to hearing from you! Susan

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fragrance in the Garden

There's a sense of calmness that overcomes me when I walk through a lush green garden, and I always get a happy feeling deep down inside when I see a bed of beautiful flowers...but it's the sweet scent of  fragrance wafting through the breeze that  makes the garden a memorable place for me.

 I'm sure all of you know what I'm talking about...strolling through the garden and inhaling the heavenly fragrance of citrus trees or confederate jasmine hanging heavy in the air. Or, brushing up against a rosemary shrub, and catching the unusual scent released from the leaves. The scent of fragrance in the air causes me to stop and take a deep breath...while letting my whole being soak up the scent.

Recently, as I got out of a car inside a parking garage I immediately noticed that the air was saturated with fragrance. Generally, a parking garage does not smell that great, so I kept inhaling the scent trying to figure out what it was, and as I walked outside my eyes immediately began to search out the source. It ended up coming from 8 large ligustrum trees covered in flowers. I couldn't believe those 8 trees created such a powerful scent.

In my humble gardening opinion, I think adding touches of fragrance all around your garden...in all four seasons...adds to the whole experience of the garden. Imagine dining on your patio surrounded by the musky scent of gardenias. Even your non-gardening family or friends will stop and take notice of your garden.

Placing fragrant plants close to a patio or porch will allow you to enjoy them even when you're not in the garden. Plants with fragrant foliage such as rosemary and basil or low-scent flowers like nasturtians are best placed along a pathway so their scent can be released when someone brushes up against them or reaches out to touch their foliage.

If you'd like to add a touch of fragrance to your garden, here's a short-list of some deliciously scented plants and trees to choose from:

Nasturtiums Tropaeolum majus
Spider flower Cleome hassleriana
Sweet alyssum Lobularia maritima

Lemon Grass Cymbopogon citratus

Butterfly ginger Hedychium coronarium
Flowering Tobacco Nicotiana tabacum
Four o’clock Mirabilis jalapa
Garden phlox Phlox paniculata
Garlic chives Allium tuberosum
Ginger lily Hedychium coronarium
Oregano Origanum vulgare
Peppermint Mentha X piperita
Pineapple Sage Salvia elegans
Spider lily Crinum
Sweet marjoram Origanum majorana

Angel trumpet Datura species
Angel trumpet Brugmansia species
Banana shrub Michelia figo
Florida Anise Illicium Floridanum
Gardenia Gardenia augusta
Night-blooming Jessamine Cestrum nocturnum
Rosemary Rosemarinus officinalis
Sweet shrub, Carolina allspice Calycanthus floridus
Sweet Viburnum odoratissimum or suspensum
Tea olive Osmanthus fragrans
Virginia sweetspire Itea virginica
Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow Brunfelsia australis

Carolina cherry laurel Prunus caroliniana
Citrus species: Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc.
Frangipani Plumeria
Fringetree Chionanthus vagrancies
Ligustrum Ligustrum japonicumLoblolly bay Gordonia lasianthus
Magnolia - Southern Magnolia Magnolia grand flora, Sweet bay Magnolia virginiana,
    Saucer magnolia Magnolia x soulangeana, Lily magnolia Magnolia liliiflora
Orchid tree Bauhinia variegata
Silk tree Albizia julibrissin

American Wisteria Wisteria frutescens (this is a non-aggressive variety unlike the Chinese wisteria)
Chalice Solandra maxima
Confederate Jasmine Trachelospermum species
Moonflower  Ipomoea alba

Click here for Printable List

We can't end the discussion on fragrant plants without including roses. Two garden blogger friends kindly agreed..without too much arm twisting from me...to contribute to this post with a list of the most fragrant roses in their gardens.

You know them from reading their blogs - Flowerlady at Flowerlady's Musings  and Sherry at If only Sweat were Irrigation... are partial to roses, and both are very successful in growing them here in Florida.

They were so generous with their contributions on roses that I'm going to create a second post on fragrant plants solely for roses so that I can share all the wonderful information they provided to me. So stay tuned...

What wonderfully scented plants are growing in your garden?


Terra Mirabilis said...

Hey, Susan. Yep, the gardenias are blooming and I am in heaven when their fragrance wafts past me. The confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides,also in bloom, and is one of my all time favorites.

I can only take night blooming jasmine from a couple of blocks away; up close, it hurts the back of my nose!

Still, the best fragrance of all is that of the damask rose. Nothing on the planet beats it!

What a great post!

-- Penny

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Good morning Susan ~ Scents are part of why I love to garden. It seems like any time of the year there is something to enjoy in our gardens. Right now Confederate Jasmine is loaded with those wonderfully scented blooms. Basket plants are another delicate scent that I like, rosemary is definitely nice to brush against, as is basil.

I love to pick a leaf off my bay tree and crush it to get that delicious scent. It is wonderful cooking with fresh bay leaves also.

Right now my Grand Duke jsamine is in bloom and I just love that scent. Have two or three other types of jasmine that are all nice too.

Roses, ah yes, a special love of mine. I always try to get roses with a scent, otherwise, they don't seem like a rose to me.

Thank you for this lovely post with such a great list of plants with scents, and thank you for the mention and link to my blog.

Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

Floridagirl said...

I noticed a ligustrum row in bloom at a garden I visited last April. What a surprise that was! I had grown a ligustrum at a previous garden but kept it trimmed back so hard, it never bloomed. I also have noticed the confederate jasmine in bloom lately.

Ooh, can't wait to see the post on roses! I love the sugary sweetness of roses. My favorite scents in my garden are the Banana Shrub and Cracker Rose...subtle and sweet. I also love sweetbay blooms (mmmmm), which I enjoy on Son's property, and crushed allspice leaves (yummy), though I don't have them in my garden.

Anonymous said...

I bought a Confederate Jasmine today and will get it planted tomorrow. I already have Rosemary growing...love to brush by it. And I have lavender growing in the house! How does the C. Jasmine over winter here...does it need to be trimmed back, covered, etc.?

NanaK said...

I love the scent of gardenia blossoms. Alas, I have a brown thumb with gardenias. But, my neighbor has a huge bush that scents the whole block! Love it.

In my own garden, the African Blue Basil and Rosemary are favorites. right now the honeysuckle and tea olive are giving their fragrance to the garden. Earlier the Sweet Almond was the star and it will be off and on again all the way through Fall.

Looking forward to the post on roses. I have Scentamental(that's the red-striped one) which is a heavy rose scent and Louis Philippe and Belinda's Dream also have a sweet smell.

Susan said...

Hi Penny...Gardenias and confederate jasmine are my favorites, too.

Hi Flowerlady...I have never heard of Grand Duke jasmine. I hope you will post of photo of it on your blog.

Hi FloridaGirl...It does seem as though the ligustrums have more blooms on them this year than in previous years...perhaps it was the cold winter but I don't remember the same thing happening last year.

Hi Theanne...The confederate jasmine does great here. It doesn't freeze but if you have it planted near a tree or other shrubs you may need to trim it back a little...otherwise let it grow, so you'll have more wonderful scent.

Hi Kay...Ah, yes the sweet almond bush. I forgot to include that one. We have it growing in the school garden but I have not been successful in rooting it. I must try it again as the scent is WONDERFUL. Thanks for including it in your comment.

sherryocala said...

Susan, I don't know how I missed this post. I, too, did not know that ligustrum bloomed until a couple of years ago. Alas, my nose does not like its musty/mildewy scent. I guess I'm peculiar. We've always had gardenias since coming to Florida, but they will not survive in my soil now. So sad. I love rosemary after it's splashed with water. Yum! I just removed 'Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow' from the backyard. Didn't like that smell either. I'll have to get some basil in pots. I love that fragrance. I guess it was the Night Blooming Jasmine that I remember from Sarasota. Intoxicating! My roses do generally smell nice, but mostly you have to stick your nose in them to know they smell.

Darla said...

My gardenias are yellowing on the leaves????? Re: comment on my post--the silver plants in the first photo are the foliage of the red breadseed poppies..the silver sage is in the 5th and 6th photos, the one with the rapid growth in three days. Thanks for your visit today.

Sandy said...

Hi Susan.. I just did a post on my gardenias... my bush is starting to fade but I was able to get bouquet inside and the fragrance is outstanding... Thank you for your visit to my blog.. I'm in the Tampa Bay area and it's really hot and humid today.. TS's on the way!
I'll check out your blogs...
thanks again

Darla said...

I agree, fragrance floating through the air adds to the joy for both gardeners and non gardeners. Rosemary, roses, alyssum, geraniums, irises, gardenia, jasmine, phlox, cleome, petunia...oh and the citrus blooms! Just to name a few that I grow :)

Julie said...

I have many different jasmines on my chain link fence...they are so wonderful! I wanted to ask you where I should plant some gardenia plants I bought and have had in pots for a half year already...I wanted to put them outside my kitchen window which is in full sun to the north, and I think it might be too much for them...I would like them to be under a window somewhere for the scent to come in the house...any ideas???

Susan said...

Sandy...Gardenias are one of my favorite scented flowers. I do wish their blooms would last year round. Wouldn't that be perfect?

Darla...Thanks for listing some of the scented plants growing in your garden. Alyssum has a wonderful strong fragrance.

Sandy...I've got gardenias planted on the northside of my home in full sun. Enrich their soil and mulch them good and I don't think you'll have any problems. I also have them planted in a pretty shady area and they do well, too. Not quite as many blooms though. Good luck with your gardenias.

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Bonnie said...

I moved here from MD 5 years ago and still can't grasp the planting cycle. I have discovered that lots of things grow faster and get way bigger than I thought they would and frequently have to rip them out. I live in a condo and can do a little gardening out front or rely on potted plants. I'm always looking for fragrant plants and the list is very helpful. I would love to try some of the perrenials but I don't want to plant something that will become out of control.Any suggestions?


Susan said...

Hi Bonnie, There definitely is a learning curve to gardening in Florida. If you have limited space I would plant alyssum in late fall. It will last through Msy and is highly fragrant. In May I would plant flowering tobacco for summer scent. If you have the room to include an Orange jasmine it blooms frequently throughout the year. If you can go vertical, plant a confederate jasmine. You can't beat it's scent. There are other Jasmines available in nurseries and they're all wonderfully fragrant. A dwarf gardenia would also be appropriate in a small space. Good luck!