Favorite Flowers for a Fragrant Garden


I like having my flower garden smell as good as it looks. So during the summer, I surround myself with as many wonderful fragrances as possible.

This means choosing fragrant plants that will bloom at different times during the season, and putting them in places that I know I’ll walk by (pathways and entryways) or where I am likely to sit (on the back patio or front porch).


IMG_5198 Fragrant ‘Daydream’ tulips and ‘City of Haarlem’ hyacinths blooming outside my front door.

What are the fragrances that fill my garden? There’s the musky scent of hyacinths and the grape juice sweetness of bearded iris. There are spicy, old-fashioned pinks, peonies that smell like baby powder and lilies that fill the yard with an intoxicating perfume. There are lilacs and mock orange, azaleas, fringetrees and heirloom roses. When I’m waiting for these flowers to bloom, I am as excited about smelling them as I am about seeing them!

We each experience fragrance differently. Just think about the choices at a department store perfume counter. Here are some of my favorites (please add a comment to share yours):

  • Daffodils (heirlooms and multi-flowered narcissus tend to be the most fragrant)
  • Hyacinths
  • Bearded Iris
  • Sweet Peas (old fashioned varieties have smaller flowers but more fragrance)
  • Azaleas (seek out the fragrant ones)
  • Sweet Alyssum (the more the better — bees love it)
  • Oriental Lilies (plant lots so you can enjoy them indoors and out)
  • Oriental-Trumpet Lilies (ditto)
  • Nicotiana (N. alata is the most fragrant)
  • Petunias (not all are fragrant – use your nose to find the good ones)

If you want your garden to smell as good as it looks, here’s a good place to start: How to Design a Fragrant Garden.