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Northwest Gardening: Scents and Sensibility

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Lilies, lavender and carnations are my favorite fragrant flowers. But let's be sensible about these scents and how to enjoy them.

fragrant lillies
lavender in bouquet

Lilies have long legs
Fragrant lilies, like the tall and elegant 'Stargazer', are Oriental hybrids, and these exotic summer bloomers hog the spotlight like leggy showgirls. But the 5-foot stems can look a bit awkward after flowering, so I use vines to cover their naked knees. This summer I had peas and clematis scampering up the stems of my tallest lilies, and the lilies didn't seem to mind a bit. Be sensible and stake your lilies first.

Lavender needs less water
In the cool summer areas of the Pacific Northwest, sensible gardeners can grow lavender on rainfall alone. No, really--no extra water, ever. I grow lavender in a rock garden with other drought-resistant plants and never water. But I do prune my lavender plants twice a year--once in May and again right after they bloom.

mini carnations

Enjoy mini bouquets of mini carnations
In a small space garden use compact dianthus or mini carnations as sensible ways to add fragrance to your home. You won't be robbing your garden of outdoor color if you keep your indoor bouquets small but scented. And with dianthus, the more you cut, the more they bloom.

Recycle elegant perfume bottles, tiny vases or cream pitchers to add fragrance to a guest bath, kitchen counter or bedside table. Combine dianthus with lavender for a calming fragrance combination.

It's just plain sensible to fall asleep on a summer night with the sweet scents of your summer garden.

What are your sensible tips for growing fragrant plants?