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GardenSMART :: Gardening Increases Immunity and Relieves Stress

Gardening Increases Immunity and Relieves Stress

By Becky Heath, Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
Photographs courtesy of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

Gardening with Aromatic Pastel Bulbs and Plants

Amazing discoveries have been made about beneficial bacteria, which may increase your immunity, being present in garden soil. Studies also show that physical activity helps increase flexibility, relieve stress, and is just generally good for us. So hands in the soil, plus stretching to plant or pull weeds, while deep breathing fresh air, all put together help to relieve stress. In addition, there is evidence that fragrance – sometimes called aromatherapy – also aids in stress relief. Some information suggests that being around pastel colors has a calming effect on emotions. Combining all four: Getting your hands in the soil while getting good exercise outside in the garden, and growing fragrant, pastel flowers may give you a way to help relieve some of the tension in your life.

The lily, which prefers to have its roots in cool soil and can be planted in very early spring, about the same time as English peas, is one of many bulbs that provide beautiful, pastel, fragrant flowers. If you plant many types of lilies; Asiatic, Longiflorum, Oriental, Trumpet, species, and all the combinations of types, your sunny garden can be filled with color and fragrance for months in the summer. Two other bulbs with lily-like flowers that are pest-proof and have a gentle fragrance are Amarcrinum and Crinum. While lilies are winter hardy in most areas, these two are winter hardy only to zone 7. They produce lush linear leaves and bloom for months. If your garden is in an area colder than zone 7, these two bulbs could be planted in large containers, enjoyed all summer and then stored in a frost-free area for the winter.

An old-fashioned flower with an amazing fragrance that was a favorite of our grandmothers is the tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa). Most produce tall spikes of heavenly scented white flowers in late summer. They are now available in other colors as well. If you have a shady area, the very winter hardy Convallaria is the one to choose. Nicknamed ‘Lily-of-the-Valley’ or ‘May-Day flower,’ the little bells of Convallaria have a fresh, lemony scent that permeates the air.

Other plants, such as sweet alyssum, dianthus, phlox, thyme, various mints, and many types of roses make great additions to the pastel fragrance garden. All can be combined in the same garden, and even planted in layers with bulbs, as long as the plants have similar requirements for sun/shade or moisture levels, and if the soil incorporates enough nutrients and is well-drained.

The many different types of bulbs and plants that have nice fragrances, when combined together in the same garden create unbelievably luscious scents that bloom sequentially and can help to heal the mind, body, and soul.

To discover the many fragrant flowering bulbs available for the garden, visit

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