There are those of us who love chocolate. Those of us who love vanilla. And those of us who love both. So why not surround yourself with these wonderful flavors while you’re in the garden?
There are many plants that offer either chocolaty-brown leaves and flowers or vanilla cream-colored blooms and foliage. These can be grown in your garden as edibles or as decorative plants to be cut and arranged deliciously in a vase. There are even plants that offer the scent of chocolate and vanilla. Planting them in the garden can fill your landscape with wonderful aromas or help to cover less pleasing scents. Try growing these fragrant plants near windows or doors so their perfume can drift inside your home.
Grow plants that are likely to thrive in the climate and conditions of your garden. Scatter them throughout your garden beds or plant a cutting garden so that you can create scented bouquets. Or you might want to devote a whole space to a chocolate and vanilla garden to display these colors and aromas as a conversation piece.
Here are some suggestions for plants that will provide your garden with luscious vanilla scents:
- French vanilla marigold
- White vanilla valerian
- Vanilla-raspberry scented mignonette (Reseda odorata) flowers
- Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis paniculata)
- Vanilla-scented bedstraw, a wild flower found on forest floors (Galium triflorum, Iris arenaria or Iris sindjarensis)
And some chocolate-scented plants:
- Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)
- Gillia tricolor (Bird’s Eyes)
- Columbine (Aquilegia ‘Chocolate Soldiers’)
- Chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata)
- Chocolate vine (Akebia quinata)
- Orchid (Oncidium ‘Sharry Baby’)
- Chocolate mint (Mentha x piperita)
Scented plants make romantic gifts and delightful bouquets. Grow your own birthday or holiday bouquets, add heady scents to your garden or just have fun designing a sensory chocolate and vanilla garden into your landscape. Deep mahogany-to-umber colors contrast nicely with white or cream hued plants. And delicious scents have been proven to have a positive impact on our health and state of mind (aroma therapy).
So do a little research and find out which chocolate and vanilla plants will thrive in your garden. You can also top off your garden with cocoa mulch. It will smell fabulous.
Cocoa mulch is derived from cocoa beans so it contains the same theobromine found in edible chocolates — which is toxic to cats and dogs. Do not use it where pets can eat it. You can probably use vanilla bean pods as mulch, too, but since vanilla comes from a lovely, white-flowering orchid, I suspect finding enough material to cover your soil would be ridiculously expensive! It’s safest to stick with chocolate and vanilla colored and scented plants in your fun and tasty garden.
Photo credit: Jane Gates