In spring my Florida garden features Gardenia blooms, vining Confederate jasmine, and southern Magnolia trees that enliven the cool air with their lemony freshness. But which blooms endure our summertime heat and humidity and also add fragrance?
I've been pleasantly surprised by the remarkably powerful scent of the sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata), which has flowered endlessly this summer. The small, white flower spikes cluster at the end of each branch. It's a fast-growing, drought-tolerant shrub that prefers sun or partial shade in Zones 8 to 11. It really does smell just like sweet almond!
Fading from sight in winter is a common characteristic for many gingers. But by the time summer arrives, they emerge to add another layer of foliage to the tropical feel of the garden. Butterfly Ginger (Hedychium coronarium) is a herbaceous perennial that spreads by underground rhizomes and forms dense clumps. Each pristine-white flower lasts only a day, but they offer a fresh and delightfully clean fragrance in my filtered-sun garden beds.
For an exotic emphasis in the tropical landscape, Queen Emma Crinum (Crinum augustum) has it all. Large, wide (10 to 12 inches across and 4 to 6 inches long) straplike leaves elongated from a short center trunk create a fabulous centerpiece in a planting bed. These amazing green leaves turn deep purple when provided with plenty of sunshine.
But the enormous clusters of spidery blooms steal the drama in the summer garden. Appearing on the ends of erect, thick stalks encased in sheathlike buds, purple and white flowers burst open one by one. The sweet scent of fine perfume gently fills the air; this makes Queen Emma crinums must-haves in my summer garden.
What are the favorite fragrant flowers filling up your summer senses?
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