Fragrance and Reminiscence

By Kimberly Toscano

The perfume of lilacs sends me back to my school days. If even the slightest hint of a lilac’s floral bouquet strikes my nostrils I am suddenly walking to school with a foil-wrapped posy in hand, ready for teacher. I can see myself standing at the monstrous shrub aside my childhood home, carefully clipping sprigs to add to the arrangement. I wrap them first in a damp paper towel, then in foil to hold in the moisture. On the way to school I can barely keep my nose out of the spray. I follow a path through an enormous hedge of yet more lilacs – a fragrant shortcut. With the memory comes a certain feeling, a warmth or calm that fills me.

Fragrant Nostalgia

My experience is not uncommon. Scent has the power to trigger vivid memories of days long passed. And with those memories come emotions, a flood of nostalgia. Smell-related memories are most commonly linked to childhood, where we first encountered the fragrance. Flowers are ripe for triggering memory, their powerful aromas often linked to very specific places. The sweet perfume of gardenia is one such fragrance with the power to transport. A single whiff and you can almost feel grandma’s hand wrapped around yours as you stroll together through her garden. Bring that memory home by planting a fragrant garden for reminiscence.

Planting Memories

We plant memories in the garden all the time: there are mom’s daylilies planted alongside Aunt Judy’s iris, and let’s not forget the hosta that came from Cousin Kay’s garden. Why not add the pleasures of fragrance to our garden of memories? While celebrating our past, we will also be building connections into the future. Our children, grandchildren and friends will build their own memories linked to the aromas we cultivate.

ScentAmazing™ Gardenia is the perfect plant to stir fond memories of grandmother’s house while leaving a lasting impression on all who visit your garden. This selection of the classic Southern charmer was bred for fragrance and blooming power. After an intoxicating spring explosion of flowers, enjoy encore performances of star-shaped blooms throughout the summer and fall and breathe the sweet aroma. Start with ScentAmazing™ Gardenia as a defining element in a fragrant, memorable garden. 

Greet Guests with Gardenia

Want to make a great first impression while also leaving a lasting impression? First impressions tend to linger – take advantage of that fact by “planting” a fond memory linked to fragrance. Graceful form, alluring aroma and showy blooms make for an unforgettably warm welcome when you flank your entryway with ScentAmazing™ Gardenia.

Gardening with Aroma

Some fragrances clash. When adding aromatic plants to the garden it is important to provide distance between strong smells so they do not overpower one another. Distance can be found in both space and time. Selecting plants that bloom at different times of the year is one way to avoid competing aromas. Spreading plants out spatially through the landscape is another way to isolate fragrance.

Finally, consider air flow when designing a fragrant garden. A gentle breeze blowing into the garden is perfect for dispersing floral perfumes, but keep aromatic plants away from powerful winds that will carry their scent away from the garden. Place fragrant plants behind windbreaks or on the windward side of the garden to enjoy their bouquet.

Try these other fragrant favorites from Southern Living Plant Collection and see where their aromas take you.

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