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Potent to the nose, these are summer-fragrant shrubs and vines.

There's aromatic magic in the garden on summer evenings when flowers fill the air with fragrance. Some of the plants we list here are so fragrant that their aromas waft into the house. Others bear flowers with more subtle, nose-teasing perfumes. Of the 10 plants listed here, mock orange is the one most suited to cooler climates from San Francisco to Denver and north (Sunset Western Garden Book climate zones 1 through 17). The rest perform well in most of the low-elevation West. By using different kinds in the garden, you can create what one landscape architect calls a "a symphony of fragrance." Plant shrubs below a bedroom window, beside a deck, or along a patio walk where you'll brush against them. Train vines up patio supports or over an arbor or entry. Herald's trumpet (Beaumontia grandiflora). Trumpet-shaped white flowers have a subtle fragrance. This big, semi-twining evergreen vine (also called Easter lily vine) climbs to 30 feet. It grows best in the San Francisco Bay Area, where winters are mild and frosts are rare (zones 16 and 17). Use it as an espalier against a warm wall, along eaves, or over a poolside arbor sheltered from wind. It likes rich soil, ample water, and regular feeding. Thin and head back after flowering (severe pruning reduces bloom, since this vine flowers on old wood).

Night jessamine (Cestrum nocturnum). In summer, clusters of creamy white flowers yield a sweet fragrance most noticeable at night. "Plant it away from the bedroom window," one landscape architect cautions. "The fragrance is powerful--almost sickeningly sweet--and it drifts." Plant this fast-growing evergreen shrub in part shade in a warm spot. (It freezes back in heavy frost, but usually recovers.) Unless pruned consistently, night jessamine gets rangy; after flowering, cut it back heavily. Nip regularly to induce bushiness.

Willow-leafed jessamine (C. parqui) has greenish flowers with a similar perfume.

Citrus. 'Bouquet de Fleurs' is a sour orange variety with highly fragrant flower clusters: "the most aromatic orange blossoms I know," says one grower. In southern France, it's used to make perfume. Bloom is heaviest in the winter and early spring; the dense foliage is deep greeen. Medium-size bitter fruits are good for marmalade; they often hang on the tree long enough to overlap next season's flowering. Grow as a shrub or small tree (to 8 feet); dwarf variety is a good container plant. If you can't find it locally, ask your nurseryman to order.

Gardenia (G. jasminoides). The fragrance of these white flowers is an old favorite. Best-known variety is G.j. 'Mystery', with 4- to 5-inch double flowers. G.j. 'Veitchii' has a smaller (1- to 1-1/2-in. flowers) and is easier to grow in cooler climates. Grow in full sun near the coast, filtered shade inland. Gardenias may bloom from late May into summer, or later depending on variety.

Jasmine (Jasminium). Angelwing jasmine (J. nitidum) bears richly fragrant, pinwheel-shaped white flowers tinged purplish on outside; it blooms in late spring and summer. Evergreen vine has leathery, medium green foliage. Grow it as a deep ground cover or low shrub; let it spill over a retaining wall or container on a deck or at poolside. Needs a long warm growing season for good bloom.

J. polyanthum, a fast-growing vine to 20 feet, bears dense clusters of long pink buds that open to white flowers in spring and early summer.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera). Sweetly fragrant, tubular flowers of Hall's honeysuckle (L. japonica 'Halliana') open pure white and turn pale yellow as they age; they bloom late spring and summer. Grow this vigorous evergreen vine as a bank or ground cover, or train it up a fence or ground cover, or train it up a fence or trellis. Unless curbed, it can become a weed: to keep undergrowth from building up, cut it back almost to framework.

Giant Burmese honeysuckle (L. hildebrandiana) has 6- to 7-inch blooms with color similar to Hall's honeysuckle. Prune older stems and occasionally remove some growth after bloom.

Banana shrub (Michelia figo). Creamy yellow flowers resembling small magnolias have a strong fruity scent. Bloom, heaviest March to May, is scattered through summer. Plant this dense slow-grower in a sunny, wind-free spot in rich, well-drained soil; provide ample water.

Sweet olvie (Osmanthus fragrans). Tiny white flowers have a sweet, apricot-like fragrance, especially powerful during heaviest bloom, in spring and summer. This evergreen shrub or tree (to 10 feet tall) has leathery, glossy green leaves. Train it as a small tree, hedge, or espalier. Give young plants some shade (they'll tolerate more sun as they age). Pinch tips to induce bushiness.

Mock orange (Philadelphus). These vigorous, mostly diciduous shrubs bear clusters of white flowers with a fresh, sweet fragrance reminiscent of orange blossoms. Sweet mock orange (P. coronarius), grows 8 to 10 feet tall, blooms in June. P. virginalis 'Dwarf Minnesota Snowflake' (to 3 ft.) had souble flowers. Plant in full sun (part shade in hot inland areas). Prune every year after flowering; thin out oldest wood to base.

Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). Star-shaped flowers of this popular vine fill the air with sweet fragrance in earlky summer. Train it as a vine on posts, baffles, walls, along fences, or over entry gates such as the one pictured at left. Provide shade in hottest areas. Cut back older plants to prevent inner growth from becoming too woody.
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Date:Apr 1, 1984
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