Scent has been proven to be directly linked to special parts of the brain that stimulate memory, increase concentration, affect dreams, lower blood sugar levels, and relieve insomnia. Pleasant smells increase basic quality of life. There are plenty of fragrant shrubs and perennials perfectly suited to landscape culture that can do all of these things. On top of that, they can be useful as well in many homemade, healthy, and effective cleaning products, bath products, and in food as edible crops. Incorporating fragrant shrubs and perennials into the landscape not only offers a visual display, but also adds a second level of experience that most landscapes lack and can put your garden a whole different level. Here are some of our favorite fragrant shrubs and perennials and what benefits you can expect from them.
Lavender is a beautiful perennial. It’s normally a clumping, neatly contained plant with greenish-bluish silvery foliage (cultivars vary of course) and are topped with usually purple or white blooms. Usually topping out at around 2 feet tall, with some cultivars growing larger or smaller, it’s a plant that’s always of manageable size. The whole plant carries the scent that it’s so famous for, but it’s most pungent in the blooms, which are also greatly enjoyed by pollinating insects.
Growing lavender is simple. We offer many varieties of lavender that are various sizes and growth habits, so there’s one or two suited to most needs in the garden. They enjoy sunny and warm spots, do well with some drying out occasionally, and once established are long lived and almost completely maintenance free. Plant lavender in the middle to foreground of perennial borders in full sun. Use lavender in areas that become dry, or are rocky and drain very well. Try to place them where warm spring and summer prevailing winds will carry their scent around the home and where people spend the most time outside so as to enjoy their scent passively.
As a health benefit, the scent of lavender and its uses are many. Lavender has been enjoyed for a very long time in gardens for its beauty, but most notably it’s classic and unique fragrance. Normally, lavender is harvested and used as a scent around the home, in cleaning products, and especially bath products- or even harvested and preserved (usually by drying) simply as an air freshener. Lavender is calming mentally as a scent. It has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety. Applied to various parts of the body in soaps, or as an extract or oil and it calms the skin. It relives the scalp of itchy dandruff and can help reduce swelling and pain from sunburns and other similar injuries. Use dried flowers and leaves with chamomile as a loose leaf tea that will help ward off viral infections. In the garden, it will calm you and relax you after a long day at work.
Just as famous as lavender, rose shrub is another steadfast basic landscape flowering shrub with many benefits tied to its fragrance. Growing roses thankfully has gotten lot simpler with carefully bred cultivars especially suited to landscape use and function- all while still having the classic scent that we all love so much. Roses come in colors from white to dark purple, yellow, pink, red, and multi colored. They can grow into large shrubs, stay small and neat, climb up trellises and walls, or even now provide rosy ground cover with a short and creeping growth habit. There are roses that survive the freezing long winters of USDA zone 3, being remarkably hardy- and ones that do well in the heat of sub-tropical Florida. They make good screens or specimens. They can be treated as a perennial in the perennial border or as a foundation shrub.
Roses have been used for hundreds of years as a base in couture fragrances. They’ve also been used in humble rosewater that many used as a linen and body freshener. As a simple matter, roses blooming on the shrub offer an olfactory experience that improves memory and offers a sense of well-being, which lowers blood pressure and calms anxious nerves. You can harvest the petals and hips and use in cooking, or make teas that are very high in vitamins A, B3, C, D and E. Rose hips can also be made into jellies and jams, which are actually quite delicious.
We carry a vast array of rose cultivars suitable for many uses, and there’s bound to be one that fits the bill in your landscape. Grow roses in full sun exposure, and plant in high-quality soil that drains well. You can add compost to soils that are lacking and mulch yearly around the base of your roses to give them the nutrition and drainage they need to stay healthy and strong. A good pruning routine that removes dead wood keeps roses looking neat and healthy. As with lavender, try to plant your roses in an area where prevailing spring and summer breezes will carry their fragrance around your property and home, and don’t be afraid to harvest the blooms and hips!
Lavender and Rose aren’t the only two wonderful fragrant perennials and shrubs we carry for your landscape. Our selection of perennial herbs offers a culinary and useful harvest year after year with minimal care, and offer lots of wonderful health benefits with their scents. Our flowering shrubs are beautiful, highly ornamental cultivars that have been proven again and again to live long and resist disease, all while being easy to care for. Many of them offer the same similar scent benefits of our perennial herbs too.