Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio, television, print
What do you love most about your garden? If you're like most people, your instinctual knee-jerk response probably involves the layout, design, drifts of color, curb appeal and the overall happiness it adds to your daily life. But what about fragrance? Research has shown that scent can influence our emotions, stress levels and feelings of well-being. Can you imagine roses or honeysuckle without it? And it's not just flowers that can have us inhaling deeply: Plants with fragrant foliage, like the scented geranium and catmint that line my walkway, also release intoxicating scents when I brush past them as I walk by.
Aromatherapy -- a form of alternative medicine that uses essential oils derived directly from plants -- depends upon the effect that scent has on human physical, emotional and mental health. So instead of using plants you like and enjoying their scents incidentally, why not plant specifically to indulge in their aromas?
The National Garden Bureau suggests using fragrant plants in areas around your home that get frequent foot traffic or those near outdoor seating areas, and recommends planting a south-facing garden because longer, stronger sun exposure can stimulate the release of additional scents from your plants.
Here's the NGB's list of recommended scented garden plants: