Marcelle Nankervis is a Horticulturist who has worked in the Horticultural Media for over 16 years.
She is passionate about Permaculture, Sustainability and Gardening for the Future.

Marcelle regularly writes for Your Garden magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.
Her first book was Plants for Australian Dry Gardens (Murdoch Books).
Marcelle's second is Smart Gardening (Exisle Publishing).

Welcome to my Blog!

As a horticultural writer I often come across people, stories, tips, tricks and real gems of information that never really make their way out of my notebook. I am hoping to share a few of these insights here as well as my own gardening experiences, which includes getting my children excited about plants.

I believe that a strong connection with the garden and our landscape when we are young is vital. I am hoping that educating my children in "Green Living" and "Smart Gardening" will provide them with the fundamental building blocks necessary for them to live long and healthy lives, while also doing their bit in helping to create a sustainable and green future for all.

Happy Gardening!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Top 10 Fragrant Plants for Spring

Gardens should delight all your senses. They should look beautiful, include tasty produce, and smell gorgeous.  

I know that I am always talking about including herbs and vegies among your garden ornamentals. 'Smart Gardening' as I call it, is imperative in the modern garden. Resources and space are limited so we need to do our bit in reducing our footprint and improving the health of our family and planet. But just because your garden is productive does not mean that it most forego any beauty or fragrance. In fact, perfumed plants can encourage beneficial insects to the garden and improve pollination.

So what are a few scented plants perfect for the spring garden?
Here are a couple of my favourites.

1. Narcissus
With all the easy grow traits of daffodils only much more fragrant, the smaller flowered earlicheer and jonquil are ideal in pots where their perfume can be brought straight to your door. And they are just as popular indoors as cut flowers. Place a bunch in the bathroom for a constant supply of spring fragrance.

2. Hyacinths
Great in pots or on a windowsill in a bulb vase, hyacinths come in a variety of colours including shades of purple, pink, cerise, apricot, lemon and white. Each has a slightly different fragrance, much like individual roses, so you’ll have to grow a few to find your favourite. Buy a mixed pack and do the test yourself.

3. Freesia
Bursting through the soil from late winter and flowering right throughout spring, leave a few freesias in the garden year after year. When left to naturalise, the sweetly scented flowers will keep blooming each spring, giving you a better display every year. Plant under a deciduous tree for a spectacular spring picture. 

4. Jasmine
A fragrant evergreen climber, jasmine flowers profusely throughout spring and then produces batches of scented blooms on and off during the summer months. A vigorous climber which establishes itself quickly, you’ll need a trellis for this one. Use it as a scented divider between properties and position it outside your kitchen window to enjoy the fragrant blooms every time you air your kitchen.

5. Wisteria
With a delicate sweet perfume, wisterias put on a breathtaking display of pendulous flowers in spring. Twining happily up over pergolas and arbours where they can form a scented ceiling, they help to create an outdoor scene that’s ideal for outdoor entertaining in spring. Deciduous, wisterias create a canopy of shade from the summer sun, while allowing the winter sun to penetrate and warm the area, giving you the best of every season.

6. Syringa
A cool climate favourite, lilac became a traditional inclusion in the American colonial garden as a welcome to visitors. It can do the same in your garden, especially during spring when the flowers are produced en masse.

7. Lavender
French lavender (Lavandula dentata) flowers from autumn right through until late spring, producing masses of perfumed flower spikes on a plant about one meter tall. Plant as a hedge for colour and fragrance for much of the year. The downy grey foliage also makes them suitable for coastal areas.

8. Philadelphus
With the strong smell of orange blossom, hence their common name of mock orange, Philadelphus sp. are frost hardy and easy to grow in sun or light shade. Flowering from late spring throughout early summer, the profusion of white blooms fills the garden with their glorious aroma.

9. Boronia
A fragrant Australian native, boronia produces its famed perfume not from the flowers but from the foliage. Boronias have a reputation for being temperamental in the domestic garden, mainly because they prefer constantly moist, free-draining soil. Cut for use in a vase inside, they flower from spring through summer.

10. Stock
A brilliantly scented annual flowering from late winter through spring, stock (Mathiola incana var. annua) is an excellent cut flower which is best collected from your garden first thing in the morning. Varying in height from 15cm right up to around 90cm, there is a variety of stock for each situation. Sow seed in January and February in warm climates and from September to December in cooler areas for flowers next spring.

This list is in no way comprehensive. Take a trip to your local nursery to select the most fragrant plants for your garden.