Plant Your Own Aromatherapy Garden
When it comes to using aromatherapy in our lives, we all love the benefits of essential oils, but sometimes we forget to just go outside and savor the incredible scents of aromatic plants. With some simple planning you can create your own aromatherapy garden.
Everyone wants a garden that offers visual delights, but what if just opening a window or taking a stroll through your yard also provided a flood of therapeutic fragrances?
Imagine your patio carpeted with aromatic herbs spilling out from between paving stones or garden beds brimming with scented flowers and herbs (which you can harvest and dry to enjoy while your garden sleeps beneath the snow of winter). And if you don’t have the luxury of a garden to plant—don’t worry: you can create a smaller version in a windowbox or in containers on a balcony.
Whether you choose the plants for your aromatic garden based on their therapeutic properties or just because you love how they smell, all it takes is a bit of planning, selecting, and planting to have your own personal garden of healing scents.
Plant aromatic plants in a windowbox or containers on your balcony and you’ll be able to open the window to let the lovely scent of heliotrope or oregano waft inside, or simply take a few steps outside to snip lavender springs to add to your bath.
The main thing to remember is to choose a site for your windowbox or pots that gets at least six hours of sun a day, keep the plants well watered (soil dries out much more quickly in containers than in the ground), and snip the tops of the plants to keep them from getting too leggy. If you are planting a combination of plants in one pot or windowbox, be sure to choose ones that have similar sunlight and moisture needs. The list that follows features aromatic plants well suited to container gardens.
Fragrant Plants for Windowboxes and Containers
Basil Lavender Rosemary
Dianthus Mint Scented Geraniums
Helichrisum Oregano Sweet Alyssum
Jasmine Rose Thyme
Keeping the spaces between stones on a pathway free of weeds can be both time-consuming and back-ache-inducing work. Instead, plant hardy creeping herbs (see the list below) between pavers to create a fragrant carpet for your feet. Most herbs do well in dry, unfertile soil and many varieties stand up well to foot traffic.
Just remove any gravel, sand, or weeds (roots and all) from between pavers and add a bit of topsoil and compost when you put in each plant. Leave at least 8 to 12 inches between plants. Water the plants thoroughly and avoid heavy foot traffic as they settle in. Because the gravel bed found beneath many stone pathways and patios encourages moisture to drain from plant roots quickly, be sure to water these plants deeply and frequently until they are established.
Fragrant Plants for Pathways
Chamomile Pennyroyal Winter Savory
Coriscan Mint Rock Cress
Miniature Thrift Thyme
When it comes to garden beds, your choices of aromatic plants is almost endless. Plant some close to your garden’s pathways so you’ll enjoy their fragrance as you brush past, or place them close to a door so it will be easy to pick sprigs to bring inside and put in a vase. Again it’s simply a matter of choosing plants based on both your fragrance preferences and the plant’s preference for climate and growing conditions. Remember that not all varieties of all plants have strong scents—a little research will hep you find the ones that will thrive in your garden AND perfume the air.
Buddleia Lilac Rose
Daphne Mock Orange Virburnam
Clematis Honeysuckle Wisteria
Climbing Roses Jasmine
Basil Lavender Mint Rosemary
Chamomile Lemon Balm Oregano Thyme
Dianthus Iris Peony
Hostas Lily-of-the-Valley Violet
Heliotrope Nasturtium Stock
Marigold Nicotiana Sweet Pea