All Posts   Posted:   June 20, 2018 by Nicole Forbes - Dennis' 7 Dees Education Director

One common request of garden designers is to engage our various senses to enhance the entire experience and leave a lasting impression. Bright, colorful flowers or contrasting foliage texture may delight us visually while rustling grasses or gurgling fountains play music in our ears and fuzzy leaves beg us to touch them. Fragrance, however, is one of the senses frequently overlooked in design and plant selection yet a plant with a pleasant perfume adds so much to the enjoyment of a garden!

Roses

When we think of fragrant flowers- roses come immediately to mind. We often hear rose enthusiasts lament about the lack of scent in modern-day cultivars and regularly encounter customers searching for the most fragrant rose. Hybridizers began breeding highly disease resistant roses in the mid-1990s but couldn’t effectively combine strong fragrance with disease resistance so fragrance began to disappear from new introductions favoring hardiness over headiness. After about a decade of producing strong plants lacking fragrance the hybridizers have improved their techniques and we now have many new rose varieties with both high disease resistance and fantastic fragrances! One such rose happens to be the 2018 official Portland Rose Festival rose of the year – ‘Dress Blues’ (also known as ‘Violet’s Pride’), a lavender-magenta colored floribunda with an amazing perfume reminiscent of old world cultivars. As a floribunda, ‘Dress Blues’ has a shrubby habit (3-4 feet tall by about 3 feet wide) with several flowers on each stem that open a few at a time. The plant has excellent disease resistance, is a strong re-bloomer and was recently voted as the 2018 Portland’s Best Rose: floribunda category!

Gardenias

Perhaps the ultimate queen of fragrant flowers is Gardenia – not all varieties will tolerate our wet, cold winters but we do have several hardy cultivars that thrive in our area (although unfortunately not so much in coastal conditions). A word of caution here, Gardenias are not to be considered low-maintenance plants – in fact they are more like plant divas, high-maintenance & demanding but rewarding us with amazing flowers whose scent can practically transport one to another time & place (totally worth it)! One may not want to landscape their entire garden with plant divas however a few select plants strategically placed throughout the garden for greatest effect adds much to the overall aesthetic. The potent aroma from gardenias is the sweet payoff for attending to their specific needs. Ideally plants should receive at least 4-6 hours of sunlight but be protected from the hottest afternoon sun to help flowers last longest. A location that is slightly sheltered from high winds and extreme temperatures will help the plant during winter months as will well-draining soil; occasional winter protection will especially benefit young, newly planted gardenias or those grown in containers. Weather grown in the ground or in a container, Gardenia plants prefer acidic soil and consistent watering and will likely drop flower buds and/or develop yellow leaves if these conditions are not met. We suggest planting with our Acid Planting mix and feeding regularly with a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants such as a Rhododendron/Azalea food. Two popular cultivars are ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ and ‘Frost Proof’; the former is a semi-dwarf selection (2-3 feet) with a single-petal style flower and the later grows a little larger (3-4 feet) with fully double blossoms.

Star Jasmines

Another of our favorite fragrant flowers is Star Jasmine (Trachleospermum jasminoides); although it is usually grown as a climbing vine it needs much less “support” from you than the gardenia above. Star jasmine is one of only a few evergreen vines for our climate and has a long blooming season, often flowering from early June through late August. Best flower performance comes from full sun conditions but the plant does quite well in part shade to shade and is relatively drought tolerant once established. Newly planted jasmine will benefit from some winter protection during its first few years and even mature plants can occasionally show a little damage after a hard winter but quickly recover with some TLC (a light, all-purpose fertilizer application in April and again in June will keep most plants looking great). Either grown as a screen, for vertical accent in the garden or in containers jasmine’s fragrance travels through windows and fills entire areas with its sweet, almost tropical aroma. The glossy, dark green leaves are enhanced by white flower clusters that are often visited by hummingbirds; an un-pruned plant may easily reach 10 feet long or more in just a few years (however plants can be pruned to maintain smaller size).

Follow your nose to your nearest Dennis 7 Dees to add summer fragrance to your garden with some of our favorite plants: ‘Dress Blues’ rose, Gardenia and Star Jasmine; stop in soon for best selection!

One common request of garden designers is to engage our various senses to enhance the entire experience and leave a lasting impression. Bright, colorful flowers or contrasting foliage texture may delight us visually while rustling grasses or gurgling fountains play music in our ears and fuzzy leaves beg us to touch them. Fragrance, however, is one of the senses frequently overlooked in design and plant selection yet a plant with a pleasant perfume adds so much to the enjoyment of a garden!

Roses

When we think of fragrant flowers- roses come immediately to mind. We often hear rose enthusiasts lament about the lack of scent in modern-day cultivars and regularly encounter customers searching for the most fragrant rose. Hybridizers began breeding highly disease resistant roses in the mid-1990s but couldn’t effectively combine strong fragrance with disease resistance so fragrance began to disappear from new introductions favoring hardiness over headiness. After about a decade of producing strong plants lacking fragrance the hybridizers have improved their techniques and we now have many new rose varieties with both high disease resistance and fantastic fragrances! One such rose happens to be the 2018 official Portland Rose Festival rose of the year – ‘Dress Blues’ (also known as ‘Violet’s Pride’), a lavender-magenta colored floribunda with an amazing perfume reminiscent of old world cultivars. As a floribunda, ‘Dress Blues’ has a shrubby habit (3-4 feet tall by about 3 feet wide) with several flowers on each stem that open a few at a time. The plant has excellent disease resistance, is a strong re-bloomer and was recently voted as the 2018 Portland’s Best Rose: floribunda category!

Gardenias

Perhaps the ultimate queen of fragrant flowers is Gardenia – not all varieties will tolerate our wet, cold winters but we do have several hardy cultivars that thrive in our area (although unfortunately not so much in coastal conditions). A word of caution here, Gardenias are not to be considered low-maintenance plants – in fact they are more like plant divas, high-maintenance & demanding but rewarding us with amazing flowers whose scent can practically transport one to another time & place (totally worth it)! One may not want to landscape their entire garden with plant divas however a few select plants strategically placed throughout the garden for greatest effect adds much to the overall aesthetic. The potent aroma from gardenias is the sweet payoff for attending to their specific needs. Ideally plants should receive at least 4-6 hours of sunlight but be protected from the hottest afternoon sun to help flowers last longest. A location that is slightly sheltered from high winds and extreme temperatures will help the plant during winter months as will well-draining soil; occasional winter protection will especially benefit young, newly planted gardenias or those grown in containers. Weather grown in the ground or in a container, Gardenia plants prefer acidic soil and consistent watering and will likely drop flower buds and/or develop yellow leaves if these conditions are not met. We suggest planting with our Acid Planting mix and feeding regularly with a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants such as a Rhododendron/Azalea food. Two popular cultivars are ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ and ‘Frost Proof’; the former is a semi-dwarf selection (2-3 feet) with a single-petal style flower and the later grows a little larger (3-4 feet) with fully double blossoms.

Star Jasmines

Another of our favorite fragrant flowers is Star Jasmine (Trachleospermum jasminoides); although it is usually grown as a climbing vine it needs much less “support” from you than the gardenia above. Star jasmine is one of only a few evergreen vines for our climate and has a long blooming season, often flowering from early June through late August. Best flower performance comes from full sun conditions but the plant does quite well in part shade to shade and is relatively drought tolerant once established. Newly planted jasmine will benefit from some winter protection during its first few years and even mature plants can occasionally show a little damage after a hard winter but quickly recover with some TLC (a light, all-purpose fertilizer application in April and again in June will keep most plants looking great). Either grown as a screen, for vertical accent in the garden or in containers jasmine’s fragrance travels through windows and fills entire areas with its sweet, almost tropical aroma. The glossy, dark green leaves are enhanced by white flower clusters that are often visited by hummingbirds; an un-pruned plant may easily reach 10 feet long or more in just a few years (however plants can be pruned to maintain smaller size).

Follow your nose to your nearest Dennis 7 Dees to add summer fragrance to your garden with some of our favorite plants: ‘Dress Blues’ rose, Gardenia and Star Jasmine; stop in soon for best selection!