Turn your Garden into a Fragrant Haven

Turn your Garden into a Fragrant Haven

Natalie Crofts

Stepping outside to be greeted by wafts of floral fragrance is one of the great joys of having a flower garden. There are many plants you can grow to indulge your senses throughout the year, from the winter perfume of daphne to the spring scents of wisteria...


Daphne odora

From winter through to spring, the intense citrus-sweet perfume of daphne creates a beautiful scented cloud in the garden. Clusters of waxy blush-pink flowers grow amid dark green leaves, creating a striking display in a garden bed or border. The shrub thrives in cool to temperate climates in a sunny or partially shady spot, and can tolerate most soil types. Getting watering spot on is important as this sensitive plant does not react well to over- or under-watering, so be sure to feel the soil before you let loose with the hose. Daphne also makes an excellent cut flower, transporting its lovely fragrance inside.



A popular ingredient in both tea and perfume, jasmine’s intoxicating flowery scent can be detected from many yards away. There are two main types of jasmine: vine and shrub, though vine is perhaps the most well known, ideal for training on a trellis for a gorgeous display of cascading blooms. Its evocative fragrance is not the only benefit to growing jasmine, the plant also grows quickly, flowers generously, will add interest to your yard and is relatively frost-hardy and drought tolerant. Best grown in humus-rich, well-drained soil, position your jasmine plant in full sun or partial shade. Jasmine can get out of control if not maintained, so it is best to prune after flowering to help keep it contained.


Wisteria Sinensis

This majestic high-climbing vine sprouts huge clusters of scented mauve flowers that can be seen dripping from pergolas in spring and summer. Wisterias thrive in a sunny position in moist, well-drained soil with a sturdy support to grow on. The vigorous, rapid-growing vines are as happy in a pot on a balcony as they are on a trellis and, once established, are pretty low maintenance. Chinese wisteria is one of the most popular varieties to grow due to its large and deeply fragrant show-stopping blooms.



Spring is a time to stop and smell the roses, when the flower’s complex components release an array of wondrous scents. There is a vast range of rose species to grow suitable for the varying climes of Australia, each boasting a unique colour and smell, though often it is the dark-coloured blooms that have the strongest fragrance. Madame Plantier, Honey Perfume, Radiant Perfume, Mr Lincoln and New Dawn are just a handful of the most fragrant roses you can grow in your own garden, and are best planted in a sheltered spot that receives at least four hours of sun per day, in compost-rich soil. Historically a symbol of love and romance, roses add beauty to any backyard.



Famed for its heady sweet fragrance, there are 23 deciduous lilac shrubs in this genus belonging to the olive family. The dainty soft-purple panicles of four-petalled flowers are just one of seven colours that come into bloom from spring to early summer. Thriving well in cool climates, lilacs are easy to grow, relatively drought tolerant and low maintenance once established, good for attracting butterflies as well as cutting to bring its heavenly scent inside. Sow lilacs in humus-rich, well-drained soil in a sunny position – they need plenty of sun to bloom properly – and give the plant ample room to grow.



Valued for their large showy flowers and strong perfume, lilies are often trumpet-shaped with striking petals that can’t help but to raise a smile. True lilies grow from bulbs or corms and there are a wealth of species and colours to choose from, ranging in sweet and spicy scents. Most areas of the country are suitable for growing these dazzling blooms, best planted in rich, slightly acidic and well-drained soil – a slope is ideal – in a spot that gets full sun in the morning and light shade in the afternoon. Watch out for slugs and snails when the new shoots start to emerge. Once established, lilies will continue to grow year after year, rewarding gardeners with their beautiful blooms from summer through to autumn.


Rosmarinus officinalis

The potent scent of rosemary is enough to make your mouth water on a warm day, when the aroma from its essential oils gets released into the air. A feast for the senses, the rosemary shrub offers year-round splendour in the garden as well as in the kitchen thanks to its highly palatable flavour. Growing in woody stems of narrow green leaves, some varieties of rosemary also boast flowers for added interest in spring and summer. Easily grown in pots or straight from the ground, rosemary thrives in hot, dry climates, though it will still establish in most garden types as long as it’s not too wet or cold. Choose a really sunny spot and well-drained soil to grow rosemary in, ensuring it is well sheltered from wind. To harvest, simply snip a few sprigs off to add its potent flavour to your cooking.



Casting a tropical spell over the garden, frangipanis are one of the most easily identifiable plants thanks to their distinctly-shaped, often white, petals with striking yellow centres. Emitting an unmistakeable rich fruity fragrance, the frangipani tree will add a colourful focal point to your backyard when blooms appear in summer and autumn, providing beautiful flowers for the home too. There are a wealth of colour combinations available to grow, and the tree itself is robust and long-lived, perfect for growing in tropical, subtropical and temperate climates in full sun, in almost any type of well-drained soil.



Though sometimes regarded as weedy climbers, honeysuckles can be one of the easiest plants, and most rewarding, to grow and have in the garden. A member of the woodbine family, the genus includes over 180 species of hardy climbers and shrubs that can be beautifully ornamental. Releasing a delightfully potent fragrance and sweet nectar, honeysuckle attracts all manner of butterflies as well as birds. Plant honeysuckle in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil, best grown with some type of support such as a fence, trellis or post. With annual pruning the honeysuckle will remain relatively low maintenance, returning year after year with an abundance of pink, peach, yellow and white blooms.



The buddleia genus consists of around 100 shrubs cascading with nectar-rich flower spikes in shades of delicate pink, purple, orange and yellow from summer through to autumn. Also known as the ‘butterfly bush’, the decorative buddleia plant is a favourite food source amongst these pretty winged species who are drawn to its honey-like scent. Best grown in a semi-shaded position in moist, well-drained soil, buddleias are very undemanding and easy to cultivate, rewarding gardeners with their elegant flowers and tropical scents.

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