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The Scented Herb Garden

The Scented Herb Garden

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Scented herbs brings to mind the pleasant fragrances of lavender, sage and lemon balm. Fragrant herbs plants can be used for potpourri, oils and lotions, cooking or just to enjoy a heady whiff as you work in the garden. Often the fragrance of herbs is in their foliage, so planting your herbs where you will brush by them is an easy way of enjoying a scented herb garden.

1. Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop (Agastache)
Photo: © Marie Iannotti (2008) licensed to About.com, Inc.
All it takes is a gentle breeze to let you know when anise hyssop is in bloom. The licorice scent is unmistakable. Both the flowers and the leaves are perfumed and edible. Anise hyssop makes a great tea, if you can fight your way through the bees that are drawn to it in number.

2. Artemisia

Artemisia are such decorative foliage plants, it’s easy to forget their wonderful scent. But one brush against the leaves and you’ll understand why artemisia are such mainstays in the making of perfumes. Two to try are: Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) and Wormwood (Artemtsia absinthium).

3. Basil

Growing Fresh Basil
Marie Iannotti
Basil is usually thought of as a culinary herb, but a listing of basil varieties tells you immediately that basil is a fragrant herb of limitless variety: 'Spicy Globe', Cinnamon', 'Lemon', 'Lime', 'Thai', 'Greek', 'Cuban'...

4. Lavender

L. augustifolia
Marie Iannotti
Lavender is a wonderful all-around herb; beautiful to look at, wonderfully fragrant, good for cooking and a deer deterrent.

5. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm lives up to its lemony name. The leaves smell and taste of lemons. But the plant can become a nuisance, as it spreads rapidly by runners. Plant where it will have room to roam or grow it in a pot.

6. Mint

Mint - Growing Mint in the Herb Garden
Photo courtesy Daniel Battiston / stock.xchng
I doubt most people would enjoy the taste of mint so much if it weren’t so aromatic. In fact, you don’t really need to ingest mint leaves to sense the taste - that’s how fragrant they are. And like lemons, mint has a clean, astringent smell.

7. Nepeta (Catmint)

Nepeta (Catmint)
Photo: © Marie Iannotti (2008) licensed to About.com, Inc.
While you’re planting herbs for you to enjoy, you might want to tuck in a few plants for you cat, too. Nepeta’s fragrance is subtle to humans, but many a cat has been intoxicated by it. Be forewarned, you may plant it for your Tabby, but every cat in the neighborhood will eventually find it.

8. Scented Geraniums

Scented geraniums top the list of fragrant herbs. Most don’t have showy flowers, but their leaves are lacy and untouched by insect pests. And then there’s the perfume. Scented geraniums mimic some of nature’s best loved scents, like apple, chocolate, cinnamon, ginger, lemon, lime, mint nutmeg, orange, rose and strawberry, to name a few. It’s easy to be drawn into collecting scented geraniums.

9. Rosemary

Growing Rosemary
Photo Courtesy of Dan Shirley / stock.xchng. Used with Permission.
Rosemary is another herb that wouldn’t taste so wonderful if you didn’t first get a whiff of its earthy evergreen scent. I can’t imagine enjoying munching on pine needles, but rosemary has that fine balance of gutsy evergreen and subtle Mediterranean flair.

10. Thyme

How to Grow Thyme
Marie Iannotti
All the thymes are richly aromatic. There’s nothing like walking on a carpet of creeping thyme. For a bonus, try growing one of the ‘scented’ thymes, like lemon or lavender thyme. If you can bear to part with some sprigs, thyme makes an unexpected addition to an otherwise unscented bouquet.
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