One of the only plus points about the world lockdown is that it has come in the spring when there is a chance to get outside into the garden rather than the gloomy, dark days of winter. This would make it so much harder.
Many people are using the extra time on their hands to tackle household chores, do some DIY around the home and, get busy in the garden. Some people may perhaps have time for the garden which wouldn’t usually feature in their daily lives.
One of the most fruitful and positive things you can do and which will have a lasting effect on your life even after Coronavirus has passed, is planting an aromatherapy garden. If you are keen on the scents of essential oils then why not create some of that magic outside? It was Bernard Kelvin Clive who famously said, “Today, just take time to smell the roses.”
Image credit: Anna Day
As an enforced hush descends upon the world, this is the time and the season to do just that. The scent is not only pleasurable and stimulating to the brain and emotions but it evokes memories from times past. Chamomile, the crisp sherbety fragrance of mown grass from childhood summer days, lily of the valley or lavender, a perfume that your grandmother used to wear or mint, picked by your mother and added to the new potatoes with butter, a memory of distant family meals.
Short on space
If you are a bit of a gardening novice or are short of space or don’t have a garden, why not start with a window box or planter? Place them by the doors and windows and enjoy the delicate scents of herbs and small shrubs again and again.
Here are some popular plants which will create marvellous fragrances and which you can also harvest and dry to use within the home:-
- Sweet Alyssum
Another great space-saving idea for small gardens or gardens which have little planting space so are mainly gravel or another type of hard surface, is to create a fragrant pathway. This works well in larger gardens too. The clever part of planting herbs and fragrant plants in nooks and crannies between paving stones is that it deters weeds as well as providing amazing fragrances to accompany you as you walk. These are some of the hardy herbs which thrive in this environment, chosen because they survive well in little soil and are resistant to treading:-
- Corsican Mint
- Winter Savory
Weed out the areas you want to plant removing weeds in their entirety and as you place each plant in the space, add a bit of topsoil and compost. Don’t overcrowd the plants so leave around 12” between each one to accommodate their growth. Water thoroughly and try to avoid treading on them whilst they bed in. You may need to water them frequently until they are established.
Planting for fragrance
There is nothing like the heady scent of a blooming Buddleia to remind you that it is spring heading into summer or a stunning lilac which fills the air with scent as well as creating the most spectacular display of colour.
Choose plants based on your soil type and also the location you would like to plant in as some will prefer sun to shade and vice versa. Others to consider are Rose and Mock Orange. It is also important to understand how large the plant will grow and in which direction. There are many dwarf or miniature species that have been bred to be less invasive and grow more slowly. Try and create a perfume calendar so that you have sequential plants that will offer color and scent throughout the warmer months so there is always something colorful to look at with a fragrance that fills the air.
Vines are excellent if you have less space or there is an area of the garden you want to disguise. Choose a climbing rose or honeysuckle with its light ethereal perfume and delicate flowers or majestic wisteria with its opulent and colorful hanging fronds. Clematis and jasmine are also popular choices; it just depends on your color scheme, space, soil type, and location.
Many garden centres which are currently closed and faced with mountains of stock and no customers are now running delivery services so you can have plants brought to your door. Remember, scent and perfume will attract insects as well as people and so aromatherapy plants will help support bees and other invertebrates, a big plus for the environment.
Whatever your style of garden and available space, there is always a plant, shrub or herb which can fit in with your design. Enforced time at home has reminded people of the very simple pleasures which have been swept aside in the hurly-burly of the 24/7 digital age.
Planting an aromatherapy garden will create a legacy of plants which will endure and to enjoy long after the end of the current restrictions. And herbs can be dried and brought into the home for use in cooking or healthcare. It’s time to reconnect with the earth and Mother Nature again.
Best fragrant outdoor plants: https://www.countryliving.com/gardening/g4195/best-fragrant-outdoor-plants/
13 scented flowers for the summer garden: https://www.lovethegarden.com/uk-en/article/13-flowers-scented-summer-garden
Plants for fragrant gardens: https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/smartgardener/plants-for-fragrant-gardens
Favorite scented plants: https://www.bhg.com/gardening/design/styles/fragrant-plant-favorites/
Fragrant plants: https://www.kinseyfamilyfarm.com/nursery-plants/fragrant-plants/