Are you looking for some highly fragrant herbs to populate your garden with? Perhaps you’re interested in delving into the realm of making fragrance oils and lotions, soaps, potpourris, or just hanging up some dried bunches for the winter months to remind you that spring will come again! Whatever your reason – and really no other reason than ‘just because’ is necessary – these herbs will be a complete delight all summer long. Plant your herbs where you will easily brush by them as many of these fragranced plants hold their scent in the foliage. I admit that I cannot resist touching the leaves of most herbs to encourage them to share their hidden treasure with me!
Here are The Herb Nerd’s top five picks that are sure to give your sniffer a good workout!
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
This is an easy care herb with many uses and a very sweet fragrance. A gentle breeze is all it takes to know that this herb is in bloom. Especially great for teas, but watch out for the bees! They, too, love this aromatic beauty! Also aids in digestion and has been used for cancer treatments. Grows to 3 feet and has rose, mauve or purple spikes which are almost dripping with nectar! Self sows readily. Plant it in morning sun.
Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans)
This is one of my all time favorites. This perennial sage that reaches 4-5 feet is fast growing and produces lovely fiery red flowers and green pointed leaves. The pineapple fragrance is truly out of this world! It is a very attractive garden plant. It does best in full sun, and moist, fertile soil that drains well. It’s a tender perennial though, so if you intend to keep it over the winter, it is best to plant in pots so you can bring them inside. Pineapple sage leaves are edible and can be steeped in hot water to make an herbal tea or jam. It is also used in perfumes.
Scented Geraniums (Pelargoniums)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: I love thee in lemon, I love thee in rose, I love thee in apple, I love thee in cloves! And you could love them in many other scents too! These are another wondrously scented flowering plant will not only add a variety of extremely delicious fragrances, but also add interesting texture to any herb garden. A mixture of two parts potting soil and one part sand is recommended for proper drainage. A few hours of direct sun a day is plenty. They are a tender perennial, so again, best to bring them indoors in late October if you intend on keeping them over the winter in Northeast Ohio! A superb choice for perfumes, soaps, and potpourri as well as teas. You could easily create an entire garden from nothing but pelargoniums!
Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
No herbal fragrance garden is complete without this old favorite! This perennial evergreen is frost hardy with a deep color that attracts butterflies from a distance. It’s a sun lover and prefers well drained, composted soil. It’s very easy to grow and will actually take over a space if not pruned. I grow it in pots, but can leave them outside near the house over the winter and they faithfully send out new shoots year after year. I have made numerous sachets from the dried flowers and buds which are hung in closets or placed in drawers. A bowl of fresh or dried lavender sitting on any counter or table adds a welcoming beauty to any room. I even feed my little guinea pigs the foliage and as they chomp away, it deodorizes their cages as well!
There are a variety of thymes that can be planted in your herb garden that will tickle your nose – and your toes! A low grower, it is a great choice for ground cover and poor soil – which it thrives in. It fills spaces nicely around rocks, bricks, or stepping stones and it comes in quite a selection of fragrances. English or common thyme is best known, but why not try caraway, lemon, orange, or even lime thyme! A thyme covered walkway would be a perfect entrance into your herb garden! Most varieties of thyme have flowers ranging in colors from mauves and pinks to shades of lavender and white. They add elegance to pots when planted with other herbs and flowers with their texture and ability to spill over edges.
Well – there you have it – the Herb Nerd faves! No doubt, you have other favorites that could be added to this list. Please share them in our comments below! I’m going to my greenhouse to test the foliage on my basil and lemon balm for now…see you next week!If you would like to contribute to this feature with your own nerdy thoughts, please write me at email@example.com with herb nerd as the subject. *Disclaimer – this information is not intended for the use of diagnosing any disease, condition or prescribing any treatment whatsoever. It is offered for informational use only.