Gardening idea: Create your own perfume garden
Draw inspiration from Eden’s Perfume Garden to create an area in your garden full of scented plants that will bring year-round fragrance. Here are top tips for your garden design from Eden Horticulturist Catherine Cutler.
Tips on creating your perfume garden
- Choose an area in your garden that’s not too open or exposed to the wind, so that the gorgeous scents will linger. At Eden we created ours in a sunny courtyard inside the Mediterranean Biome, styled on a traditional Moorish garden. A porch or conservatory could work really well, but isn’t essential.
- Include plants that will offer scents in different seasons. Some of the best fragrances come in winter, such as Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'.
- If you enjoy being in your garden later in the day, select some evening scented plants such as night-scented stocks (Matthiola).
- As well as selecting scented flowers, such as sweet peas (Lathyrus), lilies or jasmine, go for plants with scented leaves, like sage (Salvia).
- Scented plants tend to come from Mediterranean climates, where it’s hot and sunny and the soil is poor and free draining. To recreate this environment, and help them avoid winter wet, prepare the soil by incorporating plenty of extra grit, or planting in large pots.
Scented plants for your perfume garden
- Traditional favourites: rose, jasmine, lily. The tried and tested favourites of the ancient Moorish gardens still make great choices for perfume gardens today.
- Fragrant foliage: lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora) is much more zingy than the common lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) – but do take care to protect it over winter.
- Heady blooms: pinks (Dianthus) produce a wonderful clove-like scent, and are remarkably sturdy as long as they have good drainage.
- Scented tree: katsura. For those with a larger perfume garden, Cercidiphyllum japonicum gives off an incredible candyfloss scent in autumn, as its leaves turn to a golden buttery tone.
- Year-round fragrance: citrus. If you have a frost-free porch or conservatory, consider a citrus tree. The floral scent is outstanding, and the leaves and fruit produce fragrance year-round.