Plant knowledge is very important in gardening and landscaping. I still shake my head when I recall how a fourth level apprentice in landscape horticulture dismissed plants. Standing in a planted bed, he flat out told me that me telling him plant names had no meaning at all. He didn’t care; which, I suspect, is one reason he is struggling to pass the Red Seal exam.
Now, let’s talk about my new residential client. She found me through Google My Business and happens to be a mobile detailer. So it makes sense that someone like that would like to have fragrant plants in her mostly shady garden.
I openly admit to not being a garden designer. I often have to consult my notes at home before offering plant suggestions. My day-job boss, on the other hand, expects a detailed list on the spot.
One fragrant plant that came to my mind right away is Cimicifuga which flowers in late summer. It’s best planted in multiples, not as a single specimen. It will send out a flower spike and the fragrance is amazing. Intoxicating even. When I stop to enjoy it, I linger there, completely ignoring the fact that I’m there on company time.
An obvious choice for early summer are Lilacs (Syringa).
The owner bought two specimens of Sarcococca, which flowers now, in February. For some reason, some people can’t enjoy the fragrance. Incredibly, last week I had to level an entire corner just to please a caretaker who argued he was suffering from allergic reactions.
Most gardeners enjoy the Sarcococca fragrance, including me. The key is to mass plant them so I told the client to plant in odd groups. Three is better than two.
Viburnum bodnantense is an awesome shrub. It pushes out fragrant, trumpet like flowers while the branches are bare. The first time I saw it, it looked like a mistake.
Also fragrant is the Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis) which also looks stunning with its spider-like flowers. It never gets old.
Daphne is smaller than the two shrubs above and smells awesome. I wish I could describe fragrances well, but I can’t.
I always recommend that clients experiment in their gardens. Buy a few fragrant plants and see how you like them; and how they establish in their semi-shade home.
I expect to be around the garden doing regular maintenance and hope to enjoy the changes. It might inspire a few future blog posts.