Tropical South

July, 2004
Regional Report

Place Plants to Enjoy Fragrance

Plant fragrant plants near the path, the door, or a sitting area where you can pass them often. Rub fragrant foliage between your fingers to release the oils and increase the scent. Put some fragrant flowers in raised beds so you can easily sink your nose into them.

Give New Flowers the Nose Test

When you pass a new flower or one you haven't sniffed, give it the nose test -- even if this embarrasses your children. Otherwise you might miss a delightful fragrance. I grew daturas, the shorter angel trumpets, for years before someone remarked on how wonderful they smelled and I finally bent to notice.

Don't Worry About the Ones You Cannot Smell

The sense of smell is unique to each person, and flowers that some people love for their fragrance aren't fragrant at all to other people. Still others find gardenias or night-blooming jasmine too strong an aroma. Some plants have fragrance that varies from plant to plant and even from flower to flower. If you are seeking fragrance most of all, try to buy plants in bloom so you can sniff them first.

Make a Temporary Potting Bench

Put your potting mix in a wheelbarrow, throw a plank or any flat surface across the top, and you have a portable potting bench. Or put the plank across the top of a trash can in a shady, secluded spot and keep all supplies nearby. It will save much stooping, squatting, and squinting when you are potting or repotting your plants.

Work on Containers

When it is too hot to work in the garden, bring your containers to a shady potting area, even a back porch or lighted place where you can work at night, and pot up or rearrange as needed. Be sure you have some mosquito protection. Keep containers of rooting cuttings in the shade until they are well rooted, then gradually reintroduce the sun lovers to more and more light.

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