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It could be the tangy aroma of the lemon, the elusive, sometimes seductive scent of the rose or a distant parisan whiff of the ever pervasive Brunfelsia.

Whichever form one experiences it, the pleasant feeling can hardly be ignored. Indeed long after one has left the garden, nostalgia abound, fanning the temptation to return outdoors and savour fragrance from the garden plants.

Yet for many of us , the idea of having a scented garden  hardly crosses our mind whenever we are  on the prowl for garden plants. Instead we are seduced by flowers and glossy green leaves and consequently ignore, the invisible yet delightful qualities of plants.

Scents are popular with many people. Perfumes and colognes are a key segment of the multi-millon dollar fashion industry. Rarely though do we realize that  we can have  those sweet fragrances  wafting through  our living rooms by growing plants that emit alluring smells.

Fortunately, most scented plants aren’t difficult to grow. Whether it be hanging baskets, window sills, small urban gardens or sprawling country gardens, there is space for a scented creeper, ground cover, shrub or even tree.

Choosing plants

However, before you go plant shopping for your garden be sure that the different varieties of scents you need will settle in harmoniously. If you grow different scented plants in one area-like the window sill- there could be a nasty clash of scents if they happen to come onto bloom at the same time- giving you a distinctly different  and sometimes unpleasant scent.

One technique you can use is to place the scented plants closer to the house. This could be either in the ground or in a cluster of pots to serve as your scented spot. Alternatively you can plant scented ground covers like lemon thyme between pavings so that they emit their fragrance when stepped upon. For some shrubs like rosemary and lavender plucking of the leaves is enough to have their scent diffusing over and about.

Some scents like those of Santolima maritima are useful as pest repellents. It abounds in homesteads adjacent to forested areas where it is reputed top keep snakes at bay.

Scented plants come in a diverse range.  They can be groundcovers, herbs, climbers, shrubs or trees.

A sample of common scented plants;

Brunfelsia (Yesterday  today & tomorrow)

By far the most popular fragrant plant. Its favoured status rests on its perennial elegance. When draped in the silky white-purple colours of the petals that gradually fade as they mature from deep mauve to white, Brufelsia gives a stunning display of colour. The nickname “yesterday today and tomorrow” is a tribute to its long lived flowering.


 Jasmines are popular for their strong scents, particularly the common star jasmine and Jasminum polyanthus. Since there are many species of Jasmine, inquire at the nursery as whether the jasmine they have is star jasmine, or polyanthus, the scented ones. Generally Jasmines are low maintenance climbers and the more common Star Jasmine (Trachelospermmum jasminoides)


Also known as Angel’s trumpet-owing to the trumpet-like shape of the creamy orange flowers. This plants’ scent can never be ignored. At the onset of dusk, Brugmansia will spawn an   erotic aroma   that wafts through the neighbourhood.   It  is a hardy  plant requiring little care once established


If you hanker after a heavenly scent in your garden, you must plant a Plumeria commonly called Frangipani. The exquisite scent of the Plumeria will certainly compensate for its lack of leaves for a prolonged period of the year. The birds initially appear pink but turn into cream white with a dust of yellow the base  in full bloom.                           

The plant requires sunny area and will grow to huge trees at the coast.


Lavender  blooms cn uplift your mood  with its calming scent. It’s a favourite for humming birds too, so if you re into wildlife  gardening, lavender is a plus. Besides the lavender scent is known to repel several insects  like mosquitoes


Gardenia  is one of tose shrubs tht you simply  cannot  miss having in your garden. It is hardy and grows whether in cold or warm climes. Its scent blends in well with  the surrounds and is  not overpowering like Brugmansia or Brunfelsia. More importantly the  gardenia has lovely milky white flowers  that are beautiful and emit a magical  odour

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