Our top 6 fragrant garden plants for outdoor entertaining (and relaxing)

Our top 6 fragrant garden plants for outdoor entertaining (and relaxing)

Whether you’re silently reading the papers on a sun lounger, or lunching with friends at a garden table, considering the perfume of your outdoor space can add a whole new dimension to the experience.

These are my favourite selection of fragrant garden plants. I have a sunny, south-facing garden, and all of these are tried and tested in my garden (except for the final one - that's a future dream), so I can assure you that they're relatively low maintenance, and pack an olfactory punch. 

Lavender

Lavender plant

Even a tiny bush of lavender makes me think of rolling purple fields in Provence, shuttered French houses and hazy, hot summer days. So get yourself a bush!

Lavender must be grown in a sunny spot, so it is an ideal bedfellow for the spot where you are likely to be relaxing under a parasol. It can be grown in a pot or a bed, and the only rules are: it likes quite dry soil, and you must prune it to stop it looking straggly after a few years.

 

Rosemary

Trailing rosemary

A few years ago we stayed in a villa in Tuscany where the garden walls were overflowing with the purple flowers of rosemary. My husband subsequently tried to recreate the look in a pot in our garden. It’s worked pretty well. Caring for this fragrant plant is similar to lavender, with the added bonus that you can add the leaves to your cooking whenever needed. We keep this one on the patio, next to the garden door.

 

Mexican Orange Blossom

Mexican Orange Blossom

Mexican Orange Blossom grows to be a mid-sized, evergreen bush, and we have a couple in our garden. It’s the plant that most often turns my head as I walk past and catch the smell. Part citrus, part honey, part vanilla. It’s easy to care for, and flowers from May onwards.

 

Sweet Pea

Sweet pea

Sweet Pea is a plant that just keeps giving. The more you cut it, the more flowers it grows. This is a fun one to grow from seed too. This winter I signed up to The Floral Project community for hand-holding in growing flowers from seed. The aim is to have the Plia Parasols HQ looking as colourful as possible for spring and summer photoshoots! I write this in March, and my seedlings are on track.

Sweet Pea flowers are colourful, wild and fragrant. As well as brightening your outdoors, they will happily live as cut flowers in a small vase indoors too. All they need from you is regular watering, and something to cling on to as they climb up to 2 meters in height.

 

Jasmine

Common Jasmine

Jasmine is a climber well regarded for its fragrance, and is perfect for growing around a door or against a sunny wall. It can be planted in a pot or in the ground, and will grow quickly once established. Pruning this one once a year will keep flowers being produced low down, where you’re most likely to catch their scent. Interior Designer Good Bones has recently surrounded her own front door and pathway with Trachelospermum Jasmine, having already successfully grown and loved it in her back garden.

 

Wisteria

Wisteria

The ultimate fragrant climber. But also the one requiring the most patience. The sunnier the position, the more flowers and perfume you’ll get, but with young plants taking up to 20 years to flower, we’d advise buying sooner rather than later, and choosing one already at the flowering stage.

 

Once your flowers are in bloom, settle down in a shaded patch and absorb nature’s art.

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