Creating a Fragrant Garden

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Creating a Fragrant Garden
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When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses? With Bluetooth in your ear and email at your fingertips, you're lucky you catch a whiff of them as you race by, en route to your next engagement. The solution? A fragrant garden you can enjoy in your down time. With the right plants and a little gardening know-how, you can create your own sweet-smelling haven, right in your own backyard.

Pay Attention to Where You Live
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Pay Attention to Where You Live

Your location on the map means a lot in gardening world. "A fragrant garden that you would plant in Vermont is different from one you would plant in Miami," said Louise Hodges, a landscape designer with 20 years of experience and her own natural pest control company (greenbugallnatural.com). "Where somebody lives dictates what kind of plants grow in that environment, what time of year you're going to have the fragrance and what time of year you're going to be outside."

Decide What You Want From Your Fragrant Garden
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Decide What You Want From Your Fragrant Garden

Before deciding on any plants, ask yourself what you're hoping to get out of your fragrant garden. "Do you want a garden with just flowers or aromatic foliage, too?" Hodges asked. "Is it something you want for a stroll in the yard, or are you hoping to bring cut flowers inside as well?" There are hundreds of plants you can choose from, each with a different strength and scent. Many plants, such as the heavily fragrant hyacinths here, make a statement in the garden or in the house as cut flowers.

Don't Forget to Watch out for Allergies
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Don't Forget to Watch out for Allergies

"Typically, but not always, the more fragrant something is, the more allergenic the plant is," Hodges said. Before inviting plants into your yard, figure out what's in the plant's family. Chances are, if you're allergic to something in the plant's family, you're going to be allergic to that specific plant as well.

Aromatic Flowers to Plant: Gardenia
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Aromatic Flowers to Plant: Gardenia

• Bloom time: Spring, summer, fall • Zones: 8 to 10 • Care: Plant gardenias in the shade in beds or containers or bring the shrub inside as an indoor plant. • Strong points: Cut gardenias, even though they don’t have much of a stem, float well in water and make beautiful short bouquets.

Aromatic Flowers to Plant: Peony
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Aromatic Flowers to Plant: Peony

• Bloom time: Spring, summer, fall • Zones: 3 to 8 • Care: Plant peonies in beds or containers that are in full to partial sun. • Strong points: Peonies are low-maintenance, deer-resistant flowers that are easily cut for bouquets and arrangements.

Aromatic Flowers to Plant: Iris
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Aromatic Flowers to Plant: Iris

• Bloom time: Spring, sometimes twice • Zones: 3 to 9 • Care: Plant irises in beds, on slopes or as ground cover. • Strong points: Irises look delicate, but they are actually tough, drought-tolerant flowers that thrive in sunlight. They attract birds, hummingbirds and butterflies.

Aromatic Flowers to Plant: Sweet Pea
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Aromatic Flowers to Plant: Sweet Pea

• Bloom time: Spring and summer • Zones: 6 to 9 • Care: Plant sweet peas in sunny beds or borders. • Strong points: Sweet peas come in a variety of different colors, some with stronger scents than others.

Aromatic Flowers to Plant: Lily
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Aromatic Flowers to Plant: Lily

• Bloom time: Summer • Zones: 4 to 8 • Care: Lily bulbs do well in containers, beds and borders. • Strong points: Lilies come in many vibrant colors, making them great both for bouquets and attracting hummingbirds.

Aromatic Herbs to Plant: Rosemary
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Aromatic Herbs to Plant: Rosemary

• Bloom time: Summer and warm winters • Zones: 6 to 10 • Care: Plant in full sun. • Strong points: Rosemary brings fragrance to the garden and flavor to the kitchen.

Aromatic Herbs to Plant: Lavender
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Aromatic Herbs to Plant: Lavender

• Bloom time: Early to midsummer • Zones: 5 to 10 • Care: Plant in full sun. • Strong points: Researchers at Charles Sturt University in Australia found that smelling lavender reduces anxiety.

Aromatic Trees to Plant: Crabapple
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Aromatic Trees to Plant: Crabapple

• Bloom time: Spring • Zones: 3 to 8 • Care: Plant in full sun. • Strong points: Even though crabapples bloom in the spring, they attract birds in the winter when they produce fruit.

Aromatic Trees to Plant: Orange
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Aromatic Trees to Plant: Orange

• Bloom time: Winter or spring • Zones: 8 to 11 • Care: Plant in full sun. • Strong points: They make for great eating or great juice, depending on the variety.

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