Gardens by their very nature are primarily enjoyed through our visual sense. However, the garden can be equally enjoyed through all our senses, but the one sense we tend to overlook is our sense of smell.
It's the scents within gardens at this time of year that tend to dominate. The subtle perfumes gently penetrating the cool crisp breeze of winter days often lead us wandering in search of those sweet scents that many winter plants exude.
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Floral perfume can be a divine element of the winter garden and the perfume of flowers can send our olfactory system into sensory overload, creating an ambience and sense of serenity, particularly on still nights.
Plants with strong heady perfumed flowers such as jonquils, should be positioned in areas where the scent will not overpower.
Many plants have oil glands on their leaves that will also exude a scent, particularly when gently brushed against. Place scented foliage plants close to walkways where they will be brushed against by passers-by to release their scent.
Native mint bush and Philotheca, the white wax flower, are ideal for this purpose. Another native with a rather spicy scent is lemon-scented Darwinia citriodora and there are of course those traditional European favourites, the lavenders.
Daphne with its sweet fruit driven perfume and the lemon scent of magnolias, meld with the delicate scent of sweet violets, jasmine, jonquils and freesias, creating an ambience and sense of serenity, particularly on still nights. Daphne Perfume Princess™ is a hybrid combining strong growth with delectable fragrance. Perfume Princess™ is the earliest and longest flowering Daphne ever bred, enjoy its large, soft pink flowers from mid-winter to late spring, and dark green foliage all year round.
Another highly fragrant shrub of the winter garden is osmanthus and despite its rather insignificant flowers, it punches well above its weight in the perfume stakes.
Two osmanthus cultivars worth planting are "pearly gates" and "heaven scent". With a delightful scent of apricot nectar, they make an ideal alternative to a buxus hedge.
Winter is a treasure trove in the garden with plenty of hidden gems to be found, to find them, you simply just need to follow your nose.
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