Imagine your next outdoor social occasion. On an ambient summer’s day, the garden has been tidied, the outdoor fire pit is lit, the food is all prepared and ready to be cooked or uncovered, and the guests have started to arrive. Maybe you’ve put a few tea lights in the greenhouse to give it that softly lit romantic appeal. A brush past the lavender releases its heady scent. Someone touches the honeysuckle and sniffs its sweet perfume. Your guests are going to go home with a wonderful memory of the evening.
Our senses are what give us feedback about the world around us and let us know if we like what we’re experiencing, or otherwise. Gardens can trigger an explosion of the senses and our olfactory systems can be vividly stimulated if we get the planting right. There’s quite a difference between passing a smelly farmyard and walking through a scented rose garden!
UK TV have produced a list of plants for a scented garden – see their ideas at http://uktv.co.uk/home/item/aid/644905.
Herbs, such as mint, rosemary, basil and marjoram look attractive in a herb garden and are a vital component of any scented garden.
Lavender is a classic and there are a number of varieties. Take a look and have a sniff at your local garden centre. Once growing they reproduce with ease and, given some sun, you’ll have an abundant crop that will provide you with plenty of fresh lavender blossoms for making your garden party drinks, such as lavender honey lemonade (see recipe below).
Lavender Honey Lemonade
1 cup of honey
5 cups of water
1/4 cup fresh lavender blossoms (or 1 tbs dried lavender for cooking)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lavender sprigs for garnish
· Mix the honey with 2½ cups of water. Stir to dissolve honey and gently bring to the boil.
· Add the lavender, cover the pan and remove it from the heat. Allow it to stand for a minimum of 20 minutes (can be a few hours).
· Strain and discard the bits. Add lemon juice and 2½ cups of water. Stir well and refrigerate.
· Serve from an ice-filled glass jug and garnish with lavender sprigs.
Sweet peas, roses, buddleia and climbers such as honeysuckle, jasmine and clematis will all add a delicious aroma to your garden. Sweet peas are a classic and grow abundantly.
Scented shrubs (http://www.scentedshrubs.com/index.htm) specialize in fragrant roses, shrubs and climbers – a great place to gain some inspiration.
You could even plant in or around your greenhouse to give yourself even more pleasure from spending time there!