I belong to a busy household of five which means regular visits to my clothesline. It is a bit of an awkward space, a narrow strip between my compost bins and my greenhouse and I would love to give it a little something extra. I’m inspired to plant a selection of scented plants, so when I brush against them with a basket full of washing, I get wafts of gorgeous perfume.
Then there is my cat run, just outside of the French doors of my dining room. I would love to throw open those doors on a sunny day, but right now, it smells like cat poop. I am planning to put a Pet Waste Composter Bin in the run to take care of the smell, but it would be amazing to have a fragrant breeze blow through those doors into my house.
Scented Plants that are Beautiful and Useful!
But you know me right? A scented plant isn’t quite enough, I like a plant to be edible and useful too! So after a bit of research, I have come up with a list of seven plants that will create an incredibly scented promenade!
Seven Scented Plants for Paths and Walkways
Lavender smells sharp, clean and fresh. It’s an obvious choice, right? The slightest touch will coax its classic scent. I adore lavender, but especially the French variety which smells a little more floral than the medicinal English Lavender.
It’s just so damned useful. Lavender makes a beautiful glycerite, delicious in a glass of chilled apple juice or a Lemon Mocktail. I even used Lavender glycerite in Apple Cider Vinegar, Neem and Tea Tree Spot Soother! It makes a glorious infused oil too. Lavender is undemanding, beautiful, useful and uplifting. Everything I aspire to be!
If you love lemon verbena tea, you will enjoy the live plant even more. Its scent is floral, yet unmistakably sharp and lemony! Lemon Verbena can get a bit scruffy if it is not regularly clipped. Luckily, the leaves are wonderful added to teas, the bathtub or scented sachets.
It is worth seeking out Lime Verbena, like lemon, but with a sharper, Lime scent.
Scented Geraniums come in an amazing array of scents. Rose, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Citronella and even Apple and Apricot! These gorgeously scented plants grow vigorously with a little sun and a bit of shade if it gets too warm. If they get too big or unruly, they are easily pruned and are easy plants to propagate from cuttings.
While their flowers are smaller and less spectacular than their non-scented geranium cousins, scented geraniums are textural. The rose geranium is slightly spikey (pictured above), the peppermint geranium is covered in downy-soft hair, like stroking a duckling! Either way, you won’t be able to resist touching them to release their divine fragrance.
Scented geraniums are pungent and you don’t want to be making a tea out of them! Bury a few leaves in raw sugar and create a delicately fragranced scented sugar that can be used in tea or baking.
People will tell you to never plant mint directly into the ground because it will take over your garden. But those are exactly the kind of problems I like to have. My hot summers dissolve mint back into the dirt, but it does come back with a flourish as soon as the weather cools.
There are over a dozen different kinds of mint, so choose one which suits your growing conditions. My favourites are chocolate mint, spearmint, and the delicate but potentially lethal Pennyroyal, which helps to deter fleas and ants.
If you love the scent of anise or liquorice, you will love Hyssop! It is also known as Augustache. It resembles lavender with spikes of purple flowers that arrive in spring. I find it to be a little bit fussy and delicate, but I’m willing to endure her poutiness in the garden as she is otherwise such a charming plant, so popular with honeybees and beneficial insects.
Hyssop is an annual herb, but it naturalises quickly and it will pop up in your garden season after season for a visit.
You will either love or hate the fragrance of Wormwood. If you have ever partaken Absinthe, you’ll recognise the smell! I like it, in small doses. It can be overpowering, but it earns its spot on this list because of its usefulness. When I had my chickens, I grew it around the perimeter of the coop to deter lice, insects and yes, worms!
It has a beautiful silver-blue foliage and is as resilient as anything, seemingly thriving on neglect. If it starts to overtake or encroach on the other scented plants, it can be pruned back by half and will recover well. It is also easily propagated by cuttings.
I think honeysuckle may have fallen out of fashion as I am finding it difficult to find locally! Honeysuckle is a vigorous grower and if you have never had the pleasure if smelling this plant, its floral scent is almost overpoweringly feminine and floral.
Honeysuckles delicate white blooms transform to yellow and the flowers make a wonderful glycerite or salve that can be applied to soothe inflamed, itchy skin. I’m planning to plant honeysuckle to cover the unsightly fence visible through my french doors. I imagine opening the doors on a breezy summers eve, while entertaining friends and having its beautiful scent weave it’s way inside.
All these delightful scented plants have use not only in the garden but also in the kitchen and especially in the apothecary. Our Subscriber Resource Library contains a fantastic Guide to Creating Your Home Apothecary.
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Do you have a favourite scented plant that you simply can’t resist? Share it with us and leave a comment below!