Steamboat Springs Whenever the aroma of lilac wafts by, I'm reminded of my grandmother who wore that scent. Perhaps, you have similar memories of a favorite relative's jasmine, gardenia or rose perfume. Fragrance is a powerful stimulant to memories, emotions and even behavior.
You can revisit those aromatic memories or create new ones by planting fragrant flowers, shrubs, vines and trees in your garden.
Fragrant plants that grow well in our mountain community (zone 3-4) include crabapple trees (particularly Malus micromalus, M. sargentii and M. zumi calocarpa), lilac shrubs and sweetly aromatic honeysuckle vines, which attract birds and bees to your garden.
The glorious perfume of lily-of-the-valley is borne on dainty, bell-shaped flowers requiring partial shade and regular water. Beware, however, of the red berries that follow the flower. They're beautiful in flower arrangements, but poisonous.
Crocus, hyacinth, and daffodils are popular sweet-smelling, early-bloomers grown from bulbs. Daffodils have the added benefit of being resistant to most wildlife.
One of the most unusual aromatic flowers is the cheery yellow chocolate flower which releases an intense chocolate fragrance.
The spicily fragrant butterfly bush has the added benefit of attracting butterflies.
Another mid summer bloomer with an intoxicating fragrance is the lemon daylily a clear yellow plant that grows to 3 feet.
Fragrant phlox comes in both annual and perennial varieties with showy flower clusters in shades of pink, blue and white which make beautiful cut flowers.
Moonlight primrose is a sweetly fragrant summer bloomer with spreading, bell-shaped flowers that grow in clusters on a 20-inch stalk. English primrose, available in a wide range of hues, blooms in early spring. This plant's leaves and flowers are edible.
With their bright colors and cheerful patterns, pinks, carnations, and sweet william also will permeate your garden with a clovelike fragrance. For a fresh minty fragrance when you brush by their leaves, try any of the herbs in the mint family .
Abundant sweetly-scented blooms of perennial sweet pea (Lathyrus latifolius) or its annual variety will waft through your garden June through September,
Although not a particularly pretty plant, Mignonette is one of the most fragrant plants that grows in our zone. It is still cultivated in France for its oils used in perfume. Another flower also used in perfume is heliotrope, an annual also known as cherry pie plant.
An invigorating fragrance is released when thyme, a wonderful inch-high ground cover, is stepped upon. It's hardy enough to take foot traffic.
Snow-in-summer is another aromatic groundcover that grows well here. You can find gorgeous beds of both plants at the Yampa River Botanic Park.