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Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 7/29/2010

Help mom grow a garden with fragrance

She's chauffeur, chef, and shoe-shiner. She is your quiet confidante, business partner, and biggest fan. Her shoulders are built to cry on, her hands are firm to persuade the stubborn, and her kisses have been known to heal the sick. Give her something equally as pretty as she is - flowers. Moms who love perfume will also love a fragrant garden.

Strolling through the garden to get a whiff of roses brings back memories. My mom, Nancy Strouse, used to grow hybrid tea roses right outside our back door. I can remember cutting off all of the blooms one season. I thrust my fistful of little stubby stems up to her chin and said, "Look Mom! These are for you!"

And in true mommy fashion, she didn't blink an eye, just told me she loved them. I wanted her to put them in a nice glass vase in the house, but because I cut the stems so short, we had to float the buds in a bowl. When my grandmother arrived, she said, "What happened to your roses?" And Mom just pointed to the mess of fragrant rose petals and said, "They were a gift from Kelly this year." I never saw one puff of steam roll out of her ears that day. Must have been hidden under her big hairdo!

It is always fun to plant something with a punch of color to invite the butterflies to your yard. Fragrance also is alluring. Here are some ideas to remember when you go to your favorite nursery in search of a Mother's Day gift.

For the mom who loves the smell of chocolate, look for Cosmos atrosanguineus, also known as Chocolate cosmos. Some gardeners think it smells like chocolate and others say it smells more like vanilla. It is a perennial with deep brown-red flowers. The blooms can get a couple inches wide and the plant grows about two feet tall.

Mignonette is an annual that some gardeners say is the most fragrant flower of all. Also called Reseda odorata, it smells like sweet peas, raspberries, and tangerines. It only gets about a foot and a half high with small flower spikes.

Heliotropium arborescens, also known as the common heliotrope is a nice choice for a fragrant garden. It gets up to four feet tall and has unique veined leaves with rich purple flowers along with a nice, sweet scent.

Herbs such as lemon verbena, chamomile, lavender, mint, scented geraniums, rosemary, and thyme are hardy fragrant additions to the garden. And don't forget about such shrubs as the butterfly bush, gardenia, jasmine, honeysuckle, and lilac for fragrance and to add architectural elements to your garden.

Some plants give off most of their fragrance at night to attract moths to help them pollinate. Moonflower is one. Evening primrose is another low-growing perennial that shows off at night.

I can't wait to take a new pot of flowers to my mom this weekend. Maybe I'll leave all the blossoms on this time.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at:

kheidbreder@theblade.com



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