The ‘Invisible’ Garden of Scent
In his latest book, Ken Druse candidly admits to a particular botanical bias. “When I come across a beautiful flower,” he writes, “the first thing I do (after checking for a bumblebee) is lean in to sample its smell.”
And if there’s no scent? “I find the blossom somewhat lacking.”
Mr. Druse is the author of 20 garden books including, most recently, “The Scentual Garden: Exploring the World of Botanical Fragrance,” which was awarded the American Horticultural Society’s top honor in March. He challenges those with gardens large and small — or even just a collection of houseplants or herbs in pots — to do a fragrance inventory and then punch up the scent quotient in strategic spots, taking into account multiple seasons and various times of day.
德鲁士著有超过20本园艺书，最新出版的一本名为《气味花园：探索植物香气的世界》(The Scentual Garden: Exploring the World of Botanical Fragrance)。3月，这本书获得了由美国园艺协会(American Horticultural Society)颁发的最高荣誉奖。他挑战所有拥有花园的人，无论面积大小，甚或只拥有室内盆栽或草本植物，让大家在考虑不同季节和一天中的不同时间后，列一份香气清单，让一些重要地方的香气更加浓郁。
Scent is what Mr. Druse calls “the invisible garden,” a design layer often overlooked while we’re distracted by shopping for something in a particular color, or searching out a plant with a particular shape, scale or purpose. But factoring in fragrance delivers another sensory dimension.
No two noses are exactly alike, so the scents that you favor, from floral-sweet to herbal, fruity or spicy, are highly personal — and open to extremes of interpretation that Mr. Druse calls “the nose of the beholder.”
Focus on the Most-Traveled Paths
Add fragrance to places where you can sample it as you walk by — between your front door and driveway, for example. That should be obvious, but too often we forget.
It doesn’t need to be flowers, either, Mr. Druse said, recalling a low-growing “hedge” of hardy, upright rosemary leaning over the edge of a brick path on a university campus on Long Island. “Imagine brushing up against the evergreen herb as you walk by, and filling the air with its bracing scent,” he said.
Plan for a succession of smells. Don’t line the whole walk with lilacs, yielding a single scent-filled moment, but instead plant a staggered palette that mixes shrubs, down to perennials, bulbs and annuals.
“I have dwarf late-winter viburnums with their clove-scented flowers in March and April,” Mr. Druse said. “Then fragrant peonies and bearded iris. Next come the roses. In summer, the rich aroma of regal lilies intensifies in the evening.”
The lilies lean toward the light, he noted, so plant them on the darker side of the path. The same holds for daylilies (Hemerocallis), whose flared flowers Mr. Druse describes as having “a sweet and lightly fruity or citrus scent.”
There can also be fragrance underfoot, with creeping thymes in a sunny, well-drained place.
Try Night-Scented Plants
If you sit outside in the evening, night-scented plants offer a way to connect with the garden through a sense of smell after dark.
Many of the most fragrant plants bloom at night, leading the early 20th-century garden writer Louise Beebe Wilder to call them “the vesper flowers.” They do it to attract night-flying pollinators like moths or even bats.
许多香气最浓的植物会在晚上开花。20世纪初期的园艺作家露易丝·比伯·怀尔德(Louise Beebe Wilder)将它们称为“黄昏花”。它们在夜晚开花是为了吸引夜晚飞行的传粉媒介，比如飞蛾甚至蝙蝠。
Open the Windows
Bringing the outdoors inside is not just about creating views of the landscape, but letting in aromas, as well.
To enjoy spring’s lilacs from an upstairs bedroom, Mr. Druse said, select a cultivar that has some height: “Not a dwarf Korean lilac, but one like Syringa President Lincoln, long and leggy like its namesake, or the later-blooming Japanese tree lilac.” The latter, Syringa reticulata, has frothy, cream-colored June flowers with a honey scent; the former are Wedgwood blue.
Vines are another way to move fragrance upward, but they need trellises or stainless-steel cables to climb on.
Mr. Druse grows Clematis Betty Corning, which blooms for weeks, with bell-shaped blossoms “that smell like lavender flowers and are the same color,” he said.
Cold-hardy wisteria is also very fragrant, dominated by a honey aroma, “but as many gardeners know,” he said, “this plant is probably too powerfully aggressive for planting without a very sturdy trellis.”
In places with gentle winters, Zones 7 and warmer, Mr. Druse said, “true jasmines and their impostors would be obvious candidates.” Possibilities include winter jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum), star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides, in Zone 8) and Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens).
Create a Patch of Touchable Fragrance
Many gardeners grow culinary herbs, some of which — the mints and rosemary, for instance — offer the extra delight of scent when brushed against. A group of pots positioned within reach, somewhere you pass many times a day, is an ideal way to incorporate such touch-me plants, even where there is no garden space.
Mr. Druse makes room, front and center, for some herbal-scented plants aren’t intended for the kitchen — like patchouli, anise hyssop (Agastache) and bee balm (Monarda).
The pelargoniums, or scented geraniums, were his gateway to fragrance. “Scented geraniums helped get me hooked on gardening as a teenager,” he said. As with many of his favorites, their leaves have to be rubbed to release the aromatic oils, which mimic sharp lemon, rose, peppermint, nutmeg and even coconut.
Choose Houseplants for Their Scent
In Mr. Druse’s New Jersey sunroom and throughout his house, a collection of tender houseplants emphasizes fragrance. Many of them migrate outdoors during the warmer months, where they sit in the gentle shade of a crab apple and dogwood.
“That’s where my hoyas in hanging baskets and Arabian jasmine, Jasminum sambac, spend the summer,” he said. But his potted lemons and limes, which bloom from February to June, “want more sun, so they vacation on the sunny edge of the shadows.”
Must-Have Fragrant Plants
Mr. Druse’s list is long: More than a hundred options for various climates are included in “The Scentual Garden.”
But if he was forced to pare down the list? “I couldn’t be without heliotrope, cottage pinks, licorice sweet flag, my beloved heirloom rose, lemon balm, tuberose and fruity cut freesias from the grocery,” he said.
Then he remembered one special treasure: “Who knew I could grow tropical allspice — Pimenta dioica — with its leathery, evergreen leaves that smell, well, like allspice in the house over winter?”