Saturday, March 28, 2015


There are several ways to bring your garden fragrance into the house. The first is with cut flowers. Today I picked these white 'cheerfulness' jonquils. Their stems were battered down by strong winds yesterday so rather than try to prop them back up again I cut them and brought them inside. Their perfume reminds me of Easter when I was a child.

Their double white blooms with a touch of yellow in the center are intensely fragrant. Don't mix them with other cut flowers because their stems exude a substance which makes other flowers wilt.
But there is another way to bring the sweet smell of the garden into the house and that is to plant a fragrant vine by the door. This one, planted by the French door, is Jasminum polyanthum.

This vine, seen here on a trellis on a south facing wall, grows by twining itself around its own stems. It can grow as large as 25' but is easily controlled by pruning back after flowering. The flower buds are pink, hence its common name pink jasmine, opening to white. The first time I saw this vine was on the house we bought in Southern California. It was draping over the trellis outside the kitchen window. One day I came home and the whole vine was gone. The house had a zero lot line and the vine was growing on the other side of the wall in next door's garden. They had cut it down to the ground. I have done that myself before now and this year my plant will get a good pruning to bring it to a manageable size.

At my front door I grow Confederate jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides, sometimes called star jasmine. It's a few days away from flowering at the moment which is probably a good thing. When the fragrance from one plant has diminished another will take its place. This evergreen vine is growing on a north facing wall with a little shelter from the porch over the front door. It has been here for 12 years. One year it was severely damaged by a late freeze when the sap was starting to rise. That resulted in split bark and die back. Nevertheless after dead tissue was removed it began new growth. The flowers on this Confederate jasmine has a slight yellow tinge. There is also a pure white-flowered variety.

April 2010
Does fragrance waft into your house when you open the door? Both these plants can be grown in pots in cooler climates and overwintered indoors.


  1. I can't begin to tell you how grateful I always am for your posts--especially this time of year when we cannot seem to get rid of winter.
    I LOVE those jonquils. And the jasmine--wow, I can imagine how heavenly that smells. I saw a book once wherein the owners had all sorts of tropicals growing in profusion in their conservatory. It was magnificent and the article said they grew many plants just for the fragrance. How lovely that must have been to sit in there with a cup of coffee. In my next lifetime, I shall be wealthy and have a HUGE conservatory----IF I'm foolish enough to live in the frigid north!
    Have a wonderful weekend

  2. I'm looking forward to next year when my newly purchased one grows and has this fragrance! Thanks for the info about it.

  3. LOVE the jonquils... ;)

    My Jasminum polyanthum has to winter in the sun room and just finished flowering, but some freesias are still scenting the air nearby, and I just bought an Easter lily to add to the mix.

  4. The only scented plant near our front door is Coleonema album (aka Breath of Heaven), which is in full flower this time of year. I don't have a strong sense of smell but there's such a mass of bloom from these shrubs even I can't miss the scent. I had Jasminium polyanthum growing in my former garden but not in my current one; however, the vine planted by my neighbor visits over the wall, which works out fine for me. We inherited a Trachelospermum, which grows near the garage but instead of growing up, it was used as a groundcover so the smell isn't readily accessible.

  5. It must have been a shock to come home and find that vine gone! I presume it grew back? You've inspired me to think about overwintering one of these in a pot next year!

  6. Absolutely lovely - great specimens for adding an aromatic element not to mention the view of gorgeous blossoms each spring. And bees too? Do you ever have problems with pollinators getting into the house with your blooming vines so close to the doors? Growing up a friend's mom was always fussing about bees getting into her kitchen after visiting the wisteria vines that grew over the back door porch roof.

  7. Oh, how I love jonquils! It is amazing how fragrant just one bloom can be. My mother had Confederate Jasmine blooming up around her front door for many years, and it was so pretty. She finally cut it down so they could repaint the house, but it didn't come back. I know she would plant another one if they weren't getting ready to sell their house, she loved the fragrance so much. I don't necessarily plant for fragrance in my garden, though - the whole garden has an aroma of dirt and green anyway that is much beloved by this gardener :)

  8. I've been thinking about adding something fragrant outside one of our windows so this was a good reminder to figure out what would work well up north. Love your door.