Fragrant Plants

Smell is one of our most primitive senses and our sense of smell can create a strong emotional response that will stay in our memory for years. When landscaping we usually focus on the visual attributes of colour, shape and texture, but it is the scent of fragrant plants and flowers that will be the most memorable part of our design.

There are many plants and flowers that offer great fragrance to our landscapes and choosing your favorite is about personal choice. The following are some of the most hardy and the ones with the best smells all that do very well in our Zone 3 climate here in Calgary.

Fragrant Angel (Echinacea purpurea)
This large, sweetly scented coneflower that looks a lot like a daisy but with two rows of delicate white petals surrounding an orange centre. The beauty of these fragrant plants attracts butterflies. Fragrant angel will grow to 40 inches making them a beautiful back drop in beds and border. Their tall fragrant flowers are an excellent choice for bouquets. The Fragrant Angel likes full sun and moist but well-drained soil.
Miss Kim Lilac (Syringa patula)
One of the greatest smells that come from a garden is the sweet and spicy scent of a lilac in full bloom and the best of the best is the Miss Kim Lilac. This compact shrub bears an abundance of single. light purple flowers and in the fall, its maroon foliage rivals the beauty of its flowers. Miss Kim Lilac is best planted near a walkway or entrance so that as your guests pass this fragrant plant on their way into your yard, they can’t help but stop and savour the intoxicating perfume as they pass by. In addition to its great scent, this lilac is a great choice for the garden because it keeps its uniform shape without any pruning.

Rose Daphne (Daphne cneorum)
All daphnes are highly fragrant and the rose daphne is the strongest of these very sweet and pungent flowers and it is the most hearty. One of these small shrubs in your yard will overpower an entire neighbourhood with their beautiful fragrance. If you like to bring your garden indoors then you only new a few cuttings from this fragrant plant to go a long way in a bouquet.

As beautiful as this plant is, it is also very finicky and doesn’t like to be pruned too much. They do best in morning sun with shade during the hot afternoons and once they are planted, leave them alone because the don’t like to be moved.

Rosy Lights Azalea (Rhododendron ‘Rosy Lights’)
One of the hardiest azaleas is also one of the most fragrant. The Rosy Lights Azalea’s bold sweet and spicy scent combination comes from hot pink flowers that appear before the shrub’s leaves in early spring. This interesting effect make these fragrant plants as appealing to the eye as the nose.

Azaleas are known to do well in our climate however they are quite delicate and a little fussy about their growing conditions. They like highly acidic and moist organic soil with excellent drainage.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
The deliciously scented red flowers grow on a shrub with finely textured foliage that also have a great scent that might rival its flower. The bright red blooms on these fragrant plants are very flashy and will attract butterflies to your garden. The yarrow needs well drained soil and should be planted in full sun. It will tolerate some shade but the lack of sun will reduce the number of flowers that return the following year.