Summer Pongers

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Don looked at some of the plants that produce their perfume through the summer months. Perfume adds atmosphere and a wonderful feeling of romance to any garden. The next time you visit your local nursery, think about buying some fragrant plants.

Roses (Rosa sp.)
Roses are a must in any perfumed garden. Don mentioned fragrant varieties such as ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Double Delight’ and ‘Papa Meilland’, but there are hundreds of others to choose from. Roses are sold bare rooted in winter, but are available all year in pots.
Cost: about $20 for 200mm (8″) pots.

Heliotrope or cherry pie (Heliotropium arborescens) is an evergreen shrub growing to around 1m (3′) tall and 1.5m (5′) wide. From early spring to late summer it produces clusters of violet to mauve flowers with a heady, vanilla fragrance. Heliotrope grows best in the warmer parts of Australia.
Cost: about $11 for 140mm (6″) pots.

Lavender (Lavandula sp.)There are around 25 species of lavender. They grow to around 1m (3′) tall and most have attractive, grey-green foliage and spikes of mauve/purple flowers. These aromatic shrubs grow best in the cooler areas of Australia.
Cost: $17 for 200mm (8″) pots.

Stephanotis or Madagascar jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda) is an evergreen, twining climber with an open habit, which grows to about 2-3 metres or 6-10 feet. The waxy, white tubular flowers are perfumed and are produced from November to April. Stephanotis grows best in tropical climates such as Cairns. If grown south of Brisbane, it needs to be planted in a very hot, sunny spot, perhaps on a trellis against a brick wall.
Cost: from $40 for 200mm (8″) pots.

Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is an evergreen twiner with thick glossy green leaves and beautifully perfumed, starry white flowers in late spring and summer. It is moderately vigorous, but it’s not a true jasmine so it will not strangle other plants in the garden. It can be grown in a pot or in the ground, and will flower in both sun and semi-shade.
Cost: $17-$20 for 200mm (8″) pots.

Murraya (Murraya paniculata) is an evergreen shrub to around 3m (10′) tall. The flowers are produced in abundance in spring then again in late summer or early autumn, but they also tend to appear after heavy rain. The plant has a dense, twiggy habit and glossy, dark green foliage, and makes an excellent privacy screen or hedge. Murrayas grow best in warm climates from Sydney to Perth and areas north. It is best to choose nursery plants grown from cuttings rather than from seed, as cutting-grown plants do not have the weed potential of seed-grown plants.

People living in cool climates (Melbourne and south) should consider planting the frost hardy choisya (Choisya ternata) instead of murraya. Choisya is a similar looking plant, which also has white, fragrant flowers.
Cost: $17-$20 for 200mm (8″) pots.

Gardenias are attractive, low maintenance shrubs with large, creamy white flowers and glossy green leaves. The flowers have an exquisite perfume that pervades surrounding areas and creates a magical, romantic atmosphere in the garden. Gardenias are warm climate plants, which are at their best in a mild, humid climate. Gardenia augusta ‘Florida’ is one of the best gardenias available. It grows to about 1m x 1m (3’x3′) and produces masses of perfumed flowers on a hardy plant.
Cost: about $17 for 200mm (8″) pots.

Peppermint scented geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum)
This sprawling plant has pale green leaves, which produce a refreshing peppermint smell when crushed. It tolerates sun or shade and is easy to grow.
Cost: $5 for 100mm (4″) pots.