June 6, 2017
One of the beautiful aspects of designing gardens is that it involves designing with smells, something (almost) unique to this art form. I don’t just mean the earthy smells of a well rotted mulch either, pleasant as it is. Spring passes from the heady waft of bluebells, cherry and crabapple blossom and onto the pungent odours of wild garlic. Then we have the anticipation of summer’s panoply of scents: rose, jasmine, lavender, honeysuckle, lilac are just a few to mention. There is also the smell of freshly cut grass or the warm earth after a shower of rain. As we come into the colder months we have the smell of ripening fruits, plums and apples, sweet box, ideal by patio doors, winter jasmine, winter flowering honeysuckle, skimmia, snowdrops, crocus etc. So with a little imagination you can create a palette of nasal pleasures that will tantalise throughout the year.
But it’s not just about pleasant smells. Many people have heard of the benefits of nature and gardening on mental health. Could these benefits be related to these smells. National Aromatherapy week is coming up on the 12th of June #aromatherapyweek. They talk about the mental health benefits of essential oils derived from our lovely garden plants. So a turn around the garden truly can lift the spirits and have a positive impact on mind and soul.
So you have these lovely plants with much pungent potential, however if you can only go out in the garden when the sun shines, you’ve missed 90% of the pleasure. When you are designing your garden think about placing scented plants along a path, or in a bed next to where you open the car door. Consider building a structure that you can sit under to be sheltered from rain, or from wind. Then you can still enjoy the outside when most would run for the house. Of course, you could always put in a fire pit or log burner for a little added warmth. So on a cool evening you can sit back and enjoy the smokey aromas of the night scented stocks by the flickering firelight.