Shrubs have many uses in the landscape, but gardeners who appreciate sweet-smelling plants will be especially drawn to the most fragrant of these shrubs. Whether cold-hardy or tropical, bushes in this group are valued for scenting the air and thereby diversifying the enjoyment of your yard. The blooms on many of these also boast great beauty.
Daphne is a must-have plant for gardeners who like scented plants or for perfume lovers. The flowers have an orange + lemon + honey + molasses scent and fill a 15-foot space bordering a partial shade garden.
Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry has sweet-smelling blossoms in spring, but this ornamental cherry has value throughout the growing season thanks to its purplish, almost black, foliage. Purple-leaf sand cherry can reach a tree-like 8 feet tall if allowed, but many choose to keep it pruned down to more of a shrub size of 5 to 7 feet. This plant thrives in blistering sun locations and looks great skirting a mountain deck.
Gardenia is easily one of the most fragrant shrubs, and it offers glossy evergreen foliage to boot. I have several that winter over in large pots for us. They are sultry as a summer evening and as intoxicating as an exotic perfume. The blossoms are just as enticing. Buds shaped like seashells unfurl into velvet soft flowers. Several locally hardy shrubs are available at Watters Garden Center this spring.
Korean Spice Viburnum is such a fragrant shrub that one of its common names is “fragrant spicebush.” It smells like the color pine, clove-like with a hint of sweet berries and musk. The best flowers are produced in full sun growing to head height.
Lilacs have a new appreciation. Growing up in Prescott, playing in the small town in the weight of their scent, lilac now has new meaning and remembrance in the garden. In full sun, few shrubs rival their beauty and fragrance. Traditional varieties grow into mini-trees, but several new dwarf varieties reach only hip high and bloom several times a year. Grandma would be jealous.
Mock Orange takes us by surprise every year. Stepping through a doorway walking along as the moon begins to rise, the scent of honey and orange is suddenly everywhere, sweet and floral and strong enough to lie down on. The white flowers are guaranteed each spring with minimal care. It grows naturally to 6 feet tall and blooms best in full sun gardens.
Roses are practically synonymous with fragrant shrubs in the minds of many gardeners. The spectrum of rose aromas is large. They vary from pleasant to sheer delight. The fragrances are described as green tea, honey, vine, moss, fruit or like other flower species. Roses grow better in high, dry gardens. In March, you will find the latest introductions here at Watters, with 700 roses all in bloom arriving the last week in April.
Fragrance Does Not Come from Flowers Alone
Lavender plants smell sweet like flowers with herbal notes and balsamic undertones. Watters specializes in mountain hardy varieties often dried and used in potpourri. The beautiful thing about fragrant foliage is the leaves stay in the garden a lot longer than do flowers. Lavender grows in the ground and looks spectacular in large containers.
Celebrating the 57th Spring Open House March 16, 17
It was 57 years ago this month that Watters Garden Center opened its doors as the first nursery in Northern Arizona. This year, we introduce new plant varieties, new flower colors and a vast selection of cold hard blooming baskets specially grown for the event. Meet our growers and talk directly to the plant breeders that have made Watters Garden Center famous all these years.
Until next issue, I’ll be here at Watters Garden Center helping local gardeners choose just the right fragrance for their gardens. QCBN
By Ken Lain