Monday, 25th September 2023

The aromatic herb garden

By Sereba Agiobu-Kemmer
06 July 2019   |   2:24 am
When designing your scented herb garden, don’t forget to focus on more than just the smells of the plants remember to plan according to their color, the time of year they bloom, their size and their individual needs.

When designing your scented herb garden, don’t forget to focus on more than just the smells of the plants remember to plan according to their color, the time of year they bloom, their size and their individual needs. This way, you will be left with a cohesive, year round garden of stunning colors and delightful aromas. An herb garden offers multi-sensory pleasures. Whether you grow edible herbs or herbs for other uses, so many of them have the bonus of fragrance.

Scented herbs include the popular fragrances of lavender, sage and lemon balm.Besides cooking, fragrant herbs plants can be used for potpourri, oils, and lotions, or just to enjoy a heady whiff as you work in the garden. Often the scent of herbs comes from their foliage and is intensified when they are crushed or broken. Planting fragrant herbs where you will brush up against them when you walk by, is an easy way of enjoying a scented herb garden.Most plants will release their aromas better when brushed against, touched or carried by the wind, so keep this is mind when choosing planting positions.

Another good tip is to plant your herbs close to your house. You’ll be able to enjoy their fragrance from the kitchen, and it’s easy to nip outside and retrieve the herb you require when cooking.Some of the best aromatic plants and herbs to choose for a truly fragranced garden include:

Calendula not only has a simple beauty, but it is edible, easy to maintain and offers numerous therapeutic uses. Also known as ‘pot marigolds’, these annuals bloom constantly throughout the growing season. The leaves are fragrant, and the flowers have a sweet, resin-like aroma … unlike most other plants traditionally grown for fragrance.While calendula prefers full sun, they will tolerate light shade in warmer areas.

Marigolds are very easy to grow, very vibrant, with bright orange or yellow colored flowers.. Marigolds are prolific bloomers and continue to flower even in hot temperatures and humid nights. They are used in companion planting, they go with many plants and are known chiefly for helping vegetables, plant them about everywhere in your garden. They are beautiful in the ground. Also planting them in pots and other containers is a sure fine way to enjoy these delightful plants.

Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is one of the most pleasing and fresh garden scents. Although it’s actually a member of the mint family – with similar looking leaves and small white flowers – it has a distinctly lemony smell, hence its name!This low maintenance herb will grow in part shade to full sun and in almost any type of soil but they flourish in full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Like its cousin mint, lemon balm is quite invasive, although removing the flowers as soon as they appear will limit this spread.To keep it as aromatic as possible, don’t fertilize your lemon balm plant.

Lemon Grass
Lemongrass Cymbopogon, highly aromatic, is a genus of African, Asian, Australian and tropical islands plants in the grass family. The genus Cymbopogon comprises of grasses, commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs, two of which are referred to as lemongrass. These are Cymbopogon citratus which is famously preferred for culinary use and Cymbopogon flexuosus, used in manufacturing of frangances because of its extended shelf life.Its health benefits are numerous. It is in high demand for its anti-bacteria, anti-fungal, anti-microbial properties. It is extensively used in aromatherapy and helps combat fatigue, anxiety and body odor.

This small, perennial shrub is both pretty and functional, thanks to its light purple to pink flowers and pleasant, pungent, clover-like flavor and smell. There are over fifty varieties of thyme, used most often in cooking.Thyme does best in loamy or sandy soil, and in full or partial sun. Because the seeds germinate unevenly, starting with a seedling is a good idea. If you like companion planting, be sure to plant your thyme near cabbage.

Smelling rosemary oil has been shown in studies to decrease levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the saliva. It also reduces anxiety, boosts mental clarity and improves learning and memory. When planted in the garden, its distinctive woody fragrance repels mosquitos and other garden pests.This pungent perennial evergreen shrub, with blue flowers, is ideal for a rock garden or the top of a dry wall. You can also plant near beans, cabbage, carrots, and sage to deter pests.

Mint is another incredibly fragrant herb that is instantly recognized by its fresh and zingy scent. Try planting peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint or orange mint in your aromatic garden.Not only is mint delicious when made into a fresh herbal tea, or used in a variety of savory and sweet dishes, it also has medicinal properties. For example, peppermint essential oil is known to relax, improve concentration, relieve sinuses and cure headaches. The scent from the plant, although milder, can still have similar effects.

Fresh basil has a strong, pungent, peppery and somewhat menthol aroma. For those who are a fan of Italian dishes, this herb is a must in the garden.Basil plants need full sunlight, plenty of water with excellent drainage, and warmth. In order to grow a large plant, you’ll need to harvest often. Once the flowers appear, remove them immediately to preserve the plant’s great flavor.

Eucalyptus, with its silvery aromatic leaves and bark which smells like a blend of menthol and sage, is a great addition to any fragranced garden.It prefers warmer climates – as it hails from Australia – although it thrives in moist, well-drained soil. Those who live in colder regions should grow eucalyptus in patio containers, and move indoors for the winter.Use sprigs in flower arrangements, or dry the leaves and bark for DIY potpourri. The scent is said to relieve congestion and repel insects.

Bay Laurel
Native to the Mediterranean region, bay has a sweet and strong scent with notes of warming nutmeg. Today, it is most well-known as a flavoring for soups and stews but it was once made into wreaths to crown the winners of ancient Greek games.

With aromatic leaves and warm flavor, marjoram is another great choice for those who want a fragrant garden and delicious home-cooked meals. Its scent and taste is similar to mild oregano, but sweeter.
Marjoram is best planted in containers, window boxes and garden beds which are positioned in full sun. The herb will grow in most types of soil with little water, but it prefers sandy fast-draining soil. You can also use marjoram as a border to help bring your garden to life by attracting bees, butterflies and other beneficial bugs.

Jewel Mint
Botanical name: Mentha requienii
Just the intriguing name alone makes you want to add this to your garden.  is a Mediterranean native and a spreading, low-growing mint ground cover that has a nice minty aroma when touched or lightly bruised. Try it as a fragrant filler between pavers or stepping stones.