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How to bring fragrance into your garden.

One of the pleasures of summer is the blend of rich scents that tease your nose on warm evenings, filling gardens and entire neighborhoods with fragrance. The plants that delight in this way are often somewhat ordinary-looking in nursery containers and so are easily overlooked. The best-known summer scents come from flowers such as gardenias, honeysuckle, and jasmine. Here we suggest some more subtle, unusual fragrancemakers-including plants with aromatic foliage. Their scents range from spicysweet to earthy, resinous, or herbal. Inland heat brings out the best in fragrant plants, releasing their aromatic oils. Plant upwind from your deck or patio; some scents are overpowering if plants are too close.

In cool coastal areas, you may need to bruise foliage to release the fragrance; a closer site, near a walk or seat, may be preferable.

Plants with aromatic foliage have the advantage of being less likely to be eaten by deer but the disadvantage of being more flammable. If you live in the hills or grasslands, fire safety experts recommend that you place such plants at least 30 to 50 feet from houses or other structures, plant them only in small quantities, and keep them spaced apart from other plants. You should also water them periodically. Most of these fragrance-makers grow best in full sun, in poor to moderate soil that drains fast. Follow your nose through the nursery and find your favorites. All you need is one or two well-placed plants. Fragrant plant choices Artemisia. Many kinds. Among the most aromatic are A. californica Canyon Gray' and A. tridentata, both with a spicy-sweet cbaparral scent. Spice bush Calycanthus occidentalis). A shrub for bright shade with some moisture. Bruised leaves have a spicy fragrance. Some describe the smell of the flowers as a blend of brown sugar and red wine; others dismiss it as vinegary. Ceanothus. All have fragrant flowers; some also have aromatic foliage, including Dark Star' and Julia Phelps'. Citrus. Flowers of all kinds are fragrant. Lemons bloom during more months of the year than other citrus. Breath of heaven (Coleonema). Feathersoft foliage has the scent of cardamom blended with nutmeg. Plant it near a path, where foliage will bruise often, to enjoy fragrance even in cool climates. Lavender. Scents vary as much as the flowers and foliage. For the classic lavender scent, among the most aromatic are English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia and its named forms) and spike lavender (L. latifolia). Many of the longest-blooming kinds have a resinous rather than a classic scent; L. pinnata has a light herbal scent with a hint of citrus. Evening primrose. Varieties from hot inland climates have the best fragrance often not especially noticeable until evening. Look for Oenothera caespitosa or 0. missourensis. Jerusalem sage (Phlomisfruticosa). Yellow flower spikes rise above woolly green leaves with a gently sweet, spicy scent. Evergreen where winters are mild. Native sage (Salvia clevelandii). Blue flowers against gray foliage are a bouquet for the eyes and nose. It has the scent of clean air after a rain. Yerha buena (Satureja douglasii, or the desert form S chandleri). This creeping ground cover, for bright, somewhat moist shade, smells like spearmint. Woolly blue curis Trichostema lanatum). Rosemary-like leaves have their own distinctive resinous scent. 11
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Date:Jun 1, 1990
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