week we visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Tom Harvey.
We learn how to make sense of scent - how to use fragrance
to add another dimension to your garden.
We as gardeners often get caught up in
how our garden looks. There is nothing wrong with that concept,
but it may overlook an important area, that of smell. The
sense of smell is one of our six senses. Fragrance can enhance
our garden. Sometimes it's a wonderful aroma, other times,
less than wonderful. There are two ways to enjoy a fragrance,
one is tactile, rub or crush plants parts, the other is
just simply enjoying the fragrance in the air. Plants, like
Thyme, must be touched or rubbed to release their smell.
Some plants are more fragrant later in the day. As the humidity
and heat build up these plants begin to release their fragrance.
Some do this to attract pollinators. When designing a fragrance
garden it is ideal to set it back so strong wind isn't always
blowing through, this allows the fragrance to settle, to
linger. It isn't necessary to have tall walls surrounding
this garden, but an area that is somewhat enclosed helps.
It is also helpful to have raised beds, not the normal ankle
level garden, but something closer to waist level, closer
to our nose. Place fragrant plants where people would normally
gather. During the Victorian era Thyme and Oregano were
planted or placed on benches. When people sat they crushed
the plants and the smell was noticeable.
We start with plants that need to be crushed
or broken to fully enjoy their smell. Bay, Laurus Nobilis,
is not a hardy plant above zone 7. If you have temperatures
that reach into the lower 20's you can expect some stem
damage or die-back. It's an ideal container plant but can
reach 15-25 feet tall. Bay is the seasoning used in stews,
soups and pot roasts. It has a wonderful sweet, spicy smell.
Tom has placed this plant close to the building, where he
gets some leakage from the windows. In the winter some heat
is released, protecting the plant.
Rosemary originated in the Mediterranean
and is another seasoning favorite. It is a fantastic spice
to use when cooking lamb. Run your hand across the stem
and the smell is strong. This plant has beautiful blue blossoms
in the spring and early summer. There are different forms
of this plant, prostrate, rambling, upright, even a gnarling
form. The different types have different types of blue blossoms.
They like full sun and well drained soil. Some say they
are hard to transfer, Tom has had no trouble with these
plants in that regard whatsoever. They should thrive in
all parts of this country, cold or hot. They don't like
Thyme is another crushable plant that
emits a wonderful fragrance. It likes well drained alkaline
soil, full sun or a even a little shade. Tom adds a little
lime to the soil early in the season and often just shears
it to the ground after the first flush of growth, sometime
around June or July. It then flushes out again during the
season and it doesn't look tattered. When doing the maintenance
the smell is enjoyable. Various cultivars of Thyme have
gold leaves, some have white blossoms, some pink blossoms
even blue blossoms. The scientific names are constantly
changing, Rick and Tom just call it Thyme.
Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Cinerea is often
thought of as a novelty plant, one often seen in dried arrangements.
It is a primary food source for Koalas. There are some species,
introduced within the last 4 or 5 years, that can be grown
in areas that get down to minus 10 degrees. It is an open
plant, kind of wiry. As a tree they can grow to 80 feet
tall with trunks that are gigantic. When these plants advance
from their juvenile stage to the mature stage their leaf
shape changes, into a long lance shaped leaf. People keep
it cut back to keep it in the juvenile form so it retains
its ornamental leaf. Because there is an large amount of
oil in this plant, their leaves, when crushed, emit the
incredibly strong Eucalyptus odor. The leaf has a sort of
white sheen to it, almost an ice-blue appearance. The correct
term is Glaucas, it is almost powerdy and offers some protection.
Eucalyptus is very ornamental.
Hibiscus are among the most showy and
versatile plants in a garden. They come in a variety of
shapes and sizes. There are tender varieties native to Hawaii
as well as shrubs that live in almost any climate. Hibiscus
Soriacus, Rose of Sharon or Shrub Althea is a large shrub
or a small tree. It produces a very showy flower from early
summer all the way into fall. All Hibiscus flowers are funnel
shaped and have a prominent stamen in the middle, in fact
that is an easy way to identify the plant as a member of
the Hibiscus family. The center of the flower is usually
darker than the outside, providing an interesting focal
point. Rose of Sharon produces a lot of seeds. Those seeds
fall to the ground and germinate, thus the plant spreads
easily. A sterile Triploid has an extra set of genes that
causes them to produce a better looking flower bloom for
a longer time but it doesn't produce seeds. In dry areas
it is a good idea to mulch new plants when first getting
them established. Rose of Sharon is a beautiful, drought
Agastash is a member of the mint family.
It has square stems and a long tubular flower. It has become
one of the hot new plants over the past several years. You
can smell this plant when anywhere near it. Bees, Butterflies
and Hummingbirds also like this plant. It has many different
colors ranging from orangish coral to yellow to pink. We
look at one variety, Fortune Blue, that has a beautiful
blue flower. It tends to flop over towards the middle of
the summer. Tom cuts them back in the middle of the season
for this reason. It grows vigorously as the summer begins
and gets so tall and brittle that wind and rain bend it
over. It then tends to break in the center. When it gets
tattered looking cut it back by half, it will re-flush and
thrive throughout the rest of the season with new blossoms.
Phlox, Phlox Paniculata is everybody's
favorite and they too are fragrant, their fragrance lingers
in a garden They have a wide range of colors from a very
clear white to pink to magenta. Most varieties are susceptible
to Powerdy Mildew; the David variety is not. Phlox likes
full sun but can take some shade.
Tenor is a plant that hasn't been out
long. It isn't susceptible to Powerdy Mildew and provides
a striking color in the garden. It has a very intense clarity
of color and doesn't fade in hot weather. It doesn't work
with all other color combinations because it has such strong
colors. If after it finishes blooming you deadhead it back
to the leaves, about a third of the way, in many cases it
will blossom again, not as large as the first but it will
extend their season.
Hosta, Royal Standard is a large Hosta
and it has very strong fragrance. Add this to your fragrance
setting and the whole area will be scented. Most grow this
plant for its foliage, but it has a wonderful blossom. It
provides shade for some of the plants that don't like as
much sun. Hostas are generally problem free. Slugs are the
one problem for Hostas but typically Hostas don't experience
problems with other insects or bacteria. They don't need
to be planted deep because you want the growing point to
be at the surface of the soil. After frost hits them, cut
out all dead foliage and wait for them to come back in the
spring. Don't fertilize the crown of the plant, that will
kill the plant. Divide them every 4-5 years at most, even
longer if you want a larger clump.
Georgia this week visits with Scott Canning,
the director of Horticulture at Wave Hill. Space is at a
premium in today's yards and gardens since many of our living
areas are becoming smaller. The garden Scott shows us has
ample space but it offers ideas that homeowners can use
to make a small space seem more complex. To make a small
space seem more complex reveal some things, conceal others.
As someone moves through a space it can be an adventure.
A change in grade makes one pay attention to what's at your
feet, when there are intricate planting at ones feet that
too makes us pay attention. When turning a corner it provides
a whole new vista that wasn't visible before. Scott uses
specimen Conifers to draw the eye into the distance. When
changing direction use a taller evergreen, like Lavender,
to help one turn the corner, to guide them through the garden.
There are Conifers for almost any situation, except very
dark and very wet. Lavenders require proper drainage, but
like hot, dry, exposed conditions. They can also withstand
wind and salt. They are very durable next to a hot path.
Hedges and grasses should also be considered, they're available
in a wide range of heights and colors. There are little
brown hedges and tall blue grasses. Most like sun, there
are varieties available that like moist conditions, some
like dry conditions. Also, Lupens are wonderful as a vertical
accent in a garden. They can be tricky to grow, but give
them a second chance because their range of color is spectacular,
their foliage highly ornamental and the vertical accent
they provide is special.
Georgia thanks Scott for showing us different
ways to utilize smaller spaces. The use of different levels
and different points of view add a feeling of open spaces
to a smaller garden.
Fragrant plants don't necessarily need
to be tender, some are used as shrubs. Abelia Chinensis
is an heirloom plant and has been around for a long time.
This particular plant is a new variety, recently introduced.
It originates from China, it is a vigorous grower, makes
clusters of tubular blossoms on the ends of the growing
stems and they are amazingly fragrant. This plant begins
blooming in early summer and continues through August. It
attracts Butterflies, Bees and Hummingbirds. Once it stops
blooming it creates a pink panicle. It is 3/4 evergreen,
in the fall it doesn't lose all of its leaves but doesn't
keep all of them either. The leaves will turn reddish orange,
even burgundy. Thus it has some winter interest.
Edgeworthii or Papyrifera, Rice Paper
Plant has beautiful summer foliage but the major show is
in the winter. It is in full bloom in late winter, in January
or February. It has cluster blossoms, cream colored on the
outside and a beautiful yellow on the inside that hang from
the stems. It is related to Daphne, thus is highly fragrant,
but is a larger plant. At one point their stems were used
to make paper, thus the name. The blossom comes out of the
stem. It can be held down by ice or the temperature can
drop below zero but when it warms the blossom will revive
and it will revert to its upright form. It is a wonderful
plant to watch as it progresses through its blooming season
and it provides fragrance in your garden at a time of year
you wouldn't expect anything to bloom or smell.
Clethra Barbin, Sweet Pepper Bush, is
from China. Some genus are native to China and some genus
are native to North America. Generally all bloom with spires
and have blossoms coming from one end to the other. They
have a very sweet fragrance. One form, Sixteen Candles,
is a tight version but still has the sweet, almost sugary
fragrance. This hedge has a variety of shapes and sizes
that will fit almost any landscape. Even if placed as far
away as 50 feet the fragrance is present. Bees like this
bush adding another element of interest.
Tom reminds us fragrance is the sense
we remember the most and the longest. Tom likes to create
fragrance in a garden rather than creating a fragrance garden.
Fragrance in your garden can be achieved in sun or shade,
in winter or summer, in well drained soil or dry conditions.
But remember, we feel satisfied when we experience smell
in a garden. Dr. Rick thanks Tom for his time and efforts.
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