The Fragrant Shade Garden

Remember the little shade garden outside of our screened-in porch?

Last summer I planted some sweet woodruff, valerian, and lily of the valley in the shadiest part, and it all came up nicely this spring:

This week I filled in the gaps between hosta plants in the partial shade sections with some sweet-smelling annuals: 

The littlest ones in the front are white sweet alyssum. I have these stretching all along the front of this border. The taller plants behind them are stock, which look sort of like ruffled snapdragons and smell really nice: sweet, but also spicy like cloves. Here’s a close-up of one that’s starting to bloom:

There are also some heliotrope in the mix (they’re the ones with the purple buds):

The heliotrope is in the sunniest end of this border, and hopefully it will still be bright enough here once the maple tree leafs out. I also started some seeds in the gaps: evening-scented stock and sweet mignonette, both of which are old Victorian favorites that people used to grow in cottage gardens specifically because they smelled so nice.

I also continued the fragrant garden around the side of the cutting beds closest to the seating area on the porch:  

This spot will also eventually be quite shady once the maple tree has its leaves, so I put in another valerian, two fragrant hosta plants, and a few more stock transplants on the sunnier end. I also sowed the same seeds here, plus some sweet peas farther down the line. All of these things should smell great and be enjoyed on the breeze when sitting on the porch — as long as they get just enough sun to bloom. This is the first full year of the fragrant shade garden, and I’m excited to see how it goes!


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