Fabulous Fragrance for Summer Evenings


DIY and how-to

A small white jasmine flower on a vine with green oval leaves, with a blurred background of similar foliage.

Fabulous Fragrance for Summer Evenings

Summer means outdoor entertaining on warmer evenings. Enhance your entertaining and enchant your guests by planting fragrant flowered plants around your patio.

As soon as we have shrugged off all the cold snaps of spring, most of us are eager to entertain outdoors again. Al fresco living is where outdoor life is a garden enhanced by the thrills of added perfumes and aromatic foliage. This added surprise is a great romantic way of making an impression on guests. It has the added benefit of de-stressing us, by making use of tenets of aromatherapy. The cool evening air allows us to be enchanted by perfumed flowers, whose essential oils may be lost to the heat of the day. Many perfumed plants are so easy to grow; you can benefit from their attributes by adding a few in the garden around your patio, or even in pots and window boxes.

Add drama by planting bold, white flowered perfumed shrubs. White flowers glow up at night, and will add a visual element to your evening garden too. The giant flowers of the moonflower (Brugmansia x candida), white hydrangeas and rose-like blooms of gardenia are perfect candidates. Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow (Brunfelsia pauciflora ‘Eximia’) and frangipani are just as eye- and nose-catching when in full bloom.

For subtle fragrance, there is a wide variety of smaller flowering plants such as the vanilla scented heliotrope which comes in shades of blue, lilac and white. Many of the day lilies (hemerocallis) have scented blooms and indigenous wild garlic (Tulbaghia fragrans) has sweetly scented cream or lilac flowers all spring and summer. The indigenous Jasminum multipartitum can be used either as a climber or as a loose shrub, with scented white starry flowers all year.

While scented climbers such as Chilean jasmine (Mandevilla laxa) with its large, trumpet-shaped blooms, Chinese wisteria with its pendulous sweet scented lilac blooms, or bridal wreath (Stephanotis floribunda) will add vertical element, it is star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) with just masses of scented white blooms that is the star of the show. It can be grown as a climber, sprawling shrub, a low clipped ground cover and even as a standard.

Don’t forget the gorgeous sweet perfume of all the flowers of all the citrus fruits. Plant one in a bed nearby where their scent may drift on a breeze, or use them as ornamental potted specimens on the patio.