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A Chicago aromatic garden

A Chicago aromatic garden contains flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees that produce fragrances pleasing to the gardener. An aromatic garden can be individualized to please the gardener. Careful planning can produce this specialty garden.

Grant Park Rose Garden
Photo by Elaine C. Shigley

An aromatic garden can be overwhelming with conflicting scents. Avoid this problem by choosing plants that bloom in different seasons. Another solution is to plant only one aromatic plant in a particular planting bed. Choosing plants with only your favorite scents is also a solution. In a large garden, this problem can be solved more easily, and you can grow plants with all of your favorite scents—floral, fruit, wood and spice.

A seasonal aromatic garden will delight you throughout the growing season. In early spring, grow hyacinth, sweet pea and flowering crabapple. Late spring plant choices are iris, lilac, sweet pea, lavender, peony, lily of the valley and favorite scented herbs like basils, sage, oregano, rosemary. In summer, grow old fashioned roses, dianthus, phlox, sweet alyssum, scented geraniums and oriental lily. Place planters of peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen near your doors in summer. In autumn, plant sweet autumn clematis, carnation, freesia and spring flowers like lavender and sweet pea.

Planting herbs among non-aromatic flowers will add pleasing fragrance to the flower bed. Fragrant lemon basil, lemon grass, sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram have lemony and/or spicy scents that are pleasing. Keep in mind the height of the plants when you design the bed. Rosemary, sage, mints, oregano and marjoram grow to four feet. Basils and thyme grow to two feet.

If creating your own aromatherapy interests you, your aromatic garden will provide the needed plants for your experiments. There are a variety of methods used to extract the essentials oils used to make many products, and instruction is available in books and online.

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