Newbie who needs frangrance advice...

hjc19June 4, 2006

I am so new to gardening I don't even have thumbs yet :) I have a very large balcony in Chicago and the wind causes problems with planting etc. However, I would like to fill my space with frangrance. I prefer evening scents ( I just read there are evening blooms) I guess. I grew up in CA, so I was surrounded by beautiful scents that I never smell here. Are there any plants you can recommend? And will they withstand periodic strong wind? How and what should I plant them in?

Thanks so much for your help - I am beginning to get the gardening bug.

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Hmmm, if a flower is scented and it's too windy to smell it, is it really fragrant? ;>)

Take a look at the FAQ over at the Fragrant Forum, it's got lists and lists of scented plants, including night-scented. Also there was a recent thread about night-scented plants.

It's hard to give specific advice without knowing how much sunlight your balcony gets -- many fragrant plants need at least part sun.

A few ideas:

1) a jasmine-type plant, either jasmine sambac 'Maid of Orleans', orange jasmine (murreya species), or night-blooming jasmine (cestrum nocturnum) in a pot that's small enough to carry inside will perfume the balcony when the winds are mild, and perfume your house (the nite jasmine may actually be too much indoors!) None of these are winter-proof, but will keep blooming in winter with good sun and some care.

2) Most of the mediterranean herbs and perennials (sage, lavender, rosemary, atemisias, myrtus, dianthus, etc.) are built to deal with high winds and hot temps, so they're a good bet.

3) If you're a new gardener, take a look at what plants are available cheap in your local garden store/farmer's market/florist shop, ask which ones are fragrant, and take a sniff! Everyone's nose is different, so just my saying "it's really fragrant!" doesn't mean you'll like it too.

4) for a few fragrant, wind-resistant vines and shrubs to grow up a wall I'd try honeysuckle, some climbing roses, fothergilla, abelias, and rugosa roses. All these will need largish containers, minimum 14" cubes to be able to make it through the winter.

Have fun getting bit by the bug!


    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 11:19AM
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My Mom had some success growing jasmine and gardenia in containers in Upstate New York. She would put them out ont he porch during summer, and then bring them in to a sunny spot in the house during the cold months.

and they smelled lovely.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 11:28AM
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Many lilies smell great, both night and day, so does sweet ally sum. Sweet alyssum does well for everyone i think, no mater how green (or brown) their thumbs are... even if you think it's been killed, while you forgot to water it during a drought, there it is, flowering once again.
Here is a pic of the sweet alyssum:

I think, both the lily and the sweet alyssum will do well even with some wind.

Moonflowers also smell nice, they should also be able to withstand SOME wind, if they have something sturdy to climb on, which won't get knocked down. (I've been told they smell nice... last year I ordered some seeds, gave 4 to a friend, 4 to my mum and sowed the rest myself....NONE came through. So I haven't actually smelled them myself yet. This year I'm trying again, so wish me luck ;o)

I would plant 7-9 lilies in a container the size of a normal bucket used for cleaning. Four or five moonflowers in the same size bucket. -Sweet alyssum, could be sown really close together, and still do well. -It isn't too late to sow sweet alyssum, and maybe you could still have luck sowing moonflowers now (although it's a bit late), however I've heard that you can buy moonflowers as small plants all ready to plant in US shops (Walmart might be a possibility). Lilies you can definitely buy as plants ready to bloom now (or you could wait, and plant the bulbs later on, which would be somewhat cheaper).

Last Idea I'll give you is Schizopetalon walkeri. I don't know the English name (or if it has one), but in Danish it's called "frimærke blomst",meaning stamp flower. They only open at night, but when they do so, they reveal the most wonderful sweet almond scent. ... here is a picture that I took on my balcony last year:

They are a bit more ficklely than the others. They don't like drought, and if you chose to sow them, you should sow them directly into the pot were you want to keep them, as they don't like to have their roots disturbed.
Also geraniums could be an ideal choice... the scents go from wood over apple to citrus.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 5:37PM
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I really love the smell of aveda's rosemary mint shampoo and both are pretty wind resistant and give off frangence all the time. But I agree with jimshy just go to your local garden store and collect what you think is nice then load them up onto a cart together to see if you like the collective fragance. As for the wind weight your pots or tie them down. And stake or support the trunks and braches from the wind. And since your a new gardener just try to stay inexpensive with the plants, and if something dies chalk it up as a learning experiance.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 7:46PM
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