Scents of August

IMG_59022-1024x768There are many ways to enjoy a garden. Your garden will delight all of your senses, but the two most obvious ones are sight and smell. While everyone has heard the expression “stop and smell the roses”, I find that

often we don’t because we don’t know what we are missing. Roses are wonderful to smell if you put your nose to them, or if you cut them to put them on your table. Other flowers can delight the nose with scents from marshmallows to cinnamon to perfume.Some of my favorite scented flowers reach their peak in August. Often the scents are strongest in the dark, so I make a point of visiting my garden to look at the stars and to breathe the flowers every night before going to bed. The wonders that I experience out there on these warm August nights assure that I will never, ever take my garden, or the water it drinks, for granted. Below are a few plants that will enhance your nighttime, and of course daytime, garden experience, in order of the impact they will have.

Nicotiana, a member of the tobacco family, will knock your socks off with its jasmine like perfume. It is an attractive tall plant with large leaves and arching stalks of white bells, but I never quite figured out what all of the fuss that one of my clients made over it was until I started to visit the garden in the dark. It reserves this pleasure exclusively for nighttime. Put it in pots next to a garden bench or by a door.

Heliotrope, a purple or white annual, will never be the visual star of your pots, but smell it and you will be reminded of marshmallow candy. Rocket red snapdragons, the tall ones, are usually a harder variety to locate in the spring but they will reward you with bold red flowers that smell like cinnamon. Some drought tolerant perennials that will delight your sight and your smell include agastache “licorice mint” and agastache “double bubble mint”. The common names speak for themselves, plus the tall red and pink spikes will bloom for months and attract many hummingbirds and butterflies. Russian sage, basil, oregano, mint, and lemon scented geraniums are all fun to crush between your fingers just for the sake of smelling.

All of these delightful plants, with a little planning and care, can be grown without using too much water. When gardening in this climate, remember that you can indulge in the beauty and fun of it without taking our water for granted.

Kendall McCumber Fine Gardening designs, installs and maintains all sizes drought tolerant gardens, stonescapes, irrigation and water harvesting systems. Call Kendall at 660-9599 for a consultation.

by Kendall McCumber