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Grow a Perfume Garden

Draw out a pleasant aroma from your garden and into your home by growing these nose-pleasing plants.

By Sharon Biggs Waller

Courtesy Comstock Images/ Thinkstock
No perfume garden is complete without the addition of lavendar.

The garden at Christian Dior’s childhood home, Les Rhumbs (now a museum), in the seaside resort of La Manche, France, inspired his perfume collection. To create a similar garden of your own, you can place plants that release fragrance as you step on them in the pathways, grow scented plants for cutting, or choose plants that can be dried for sachets or potpourri.

Plants to Try

Lavender (Lavandula)
From the Latin name lavare, which means “to wash,” this shrub is a necessary addition to any perfume garden. According to Goodwin Creek Gardens, there are 28 species of lavender. Harvest as buds begin to open.
perennial; USDA zones 5 to 9

Rose (Rosa)
Blush Noisette, a light-pink rose that dates back to 1817, was one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorites. It can be trained on a trellis or left to form a bush. The fragrance is clove-like
perennial; USDA zones 4 to 9

Tenweeks Stock (Matthiola incana)
The spicy fragrance of this spring-to-fall-blooming annual comes in many colors including pink, purple, white and cream.
annual or perennial; hardy to USDA zone 6

Sweet Violet (Viola odorata)
This late-spring flower has the sweetest scent—a welcome perfume after a long winter. It’s an important medicinal herb, as well, having been used in the treatment of cancer. It’s also a strong decongestant.
perennial; USDA zone 5

Other Plant Options
Sweet Annie
Sweet pea
Creeping thyme

About the Author: Sharon Biggs Waller is a freelance writer and hobby farmer based in northwestern Indiana. She has several themed gardens of her own, including a scented garden and an apothecary garden. She’s the author of The Original Horse Bible (BowTie Press, 2011) and blogs at www.sharonbiggswaller.com.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2011 issue of Hobby Farm Home.

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