Over the last 18 months or so we’ve seen just how important gardens are for our physical health and mental well being. If you’re lucky enough to have your outdoor space attached to your house, you probably spent much more time there than in previous years. People use their gardens for various things, growing fruit and veg for the table, socialising (safely) with friends and family, or keeping the kids occupied. But a mainstay of the garden is flowers and other decorative plants. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they also attract bees and birds and smell great. How much effort you want to put into your flowers is up to you, there are those that are pretty easy to keep alive and those that require much more input and labour. Here are some ideas for planting out your garden.
Give your garden an explosion of colour and an intoxicating smell with this ever popular variety of rhododendron. Azaleas come in beautiful shades of pink, white, coral, and purple, and it’s worth checking what type you are buying or ask for advice at your local garden centre, as they come as both deciduous and evergreen. Best planted in huge numbers for spectacular bursts of vibrant colour, or they can be used as a low, decorative hedge.
This is another beautiful flowering shrub which works very well in moist conditions. The attractive spherical flowers are hugely attractive to bees and other pollinators, and thrive in wet areas, such as by a downspout. Some varieties grow to be very tall – up to 20 feet – so make sure you take this into account when planting, otherwise they may dominate over other flowers and plants.
Everyone loves the fragrant, comforting smell of lavender. The scent and the elegant, pastel purple colours conspire to make this a perennial favourite for decorative and herb gardens alike, and is often grown on balconies. It attracts bees, birds and butterflies, and can be harvested for use in aromatic potpourri, decorative bundles for the kitchen, and even essential oils and herbal medicine. What’s more, it also acts as a natural insect repellent for days out in the garden.
Great for using as an accent plant amongst your other flowers, quince is a hardy, decorative shrub that does well in dry conditions and soaks up the warm afternoon sunshine. Early spring sees it bursting out with large, vibrantly colored flowers. It is fairly low maintenance, rarely needing pruning, and the newer varieties are thornless.
Another sun worshipper – and one that grows rapidly – beautyberry does what it says on the tin. The gorgeous purple berries come out in autumn to decorate the stems, giving the garden a burst of fresh vibrancy at the time of year when the color is fading. But the summer bloom is worthy of a mention too – masses of white to contrast with darker, richer shades of other flowers. And some varieties boast purple-black foliage. All in all a versatile and beautiful addition to any flower bed.
Your garden should be a sensory experience, rich in color and delicious in scent. And Lily-of-the-Valley can claim to be the best at both, with a glorious perfume with sweet, nuanced accents – almost like a fine wine. It also graces many cut flower bouquets and can be placed in a vase to add an aroma to your home. Easy and quick to grow, the plant spreads quickly which only serves to heighten the potency of its aroma.
Along with chrysanthemums, gardenias and phlox, oriental lilies are an irresistible temptation for bees and other pollinators. This is due to their glorious scent, which grows ever more potent in the afternoon when the flowers warm up. To fully appreciate their aroma they should be planted en masse, which also highlights their beautiful petals.
This impressive 4-foot shrub is a favorite with all gardeners due to its statuesque size and small but striking light pink flowers. It is a quick and easy grower, and looks equally good as a centerpiece or bookending a bed. Another extremely aromatic plant, the smell comes from the flowers, so they are most potent in the warm but gentle sun, enchanting your garden in the late summer.
This shrub, native to North America, is best used as a border plant with striking, almost tropical leaves. The leaves are glossy and colorful, and the flowers are small and unique. The fragrance is strong and sweet, and the plant gives an almost exotic feel to the garden.
A flower that can cater to all tastes, being that it comes in almost every color imaginable. They like a lot of sunlight, which accentuates their interesting and varied smells. The aromas range from anise to sweet fruit, and as they come in all shapes and sizes they can be made to suit just about any garden.
Flowers aren’t just for brightening up the backyard. Their lush, fragrant smells add another dimension to any garden and the visual delights created by the same will guarantee you’ll be spending more time soaking up your handiwork.