Fragrant front gardens

What could be better to welcome you home than a front garden bursting with scented plants? Here’s a selection to lift your spirits all year round

The Cardiff show was the perfect place to buy fabulous new plants for your garden – the Floral Marquees and Plant Village were home to these and plenty more – and check out our A-Z of exhibitors for more details.

An evening welcome to grow along the driveway

Night-scented phlox – Zaluzianskya ovata. This cute little plant has to be smelled to be believed. Making a neat mound of mid-green leaves, it’s covered with pretty white flowers in summer. These have a whirligig appearance, made all the prettier by the maroon staining on the backs of the petals. But its real glory is the scent – described by some people as vanilla, others say it’s like fresh washing! It’s strongest in the evening, after around 7pm – perfect to welcome you home after a long day. Give it a warm, sunny spot and well-drained soil. Great in gravel gardens or along the edge of driveways. Grows to about 20cm / 8in height and spread. Shown by Ice Alpines.

A wall plant that gives you months of scent

An utterly lovely plant with some hilariously awful names – Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’ – known in English as bastard senna or scorpion vetch. Most gardeners simply call it coronilla and love it to bits for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it flowers right through the darkest, dankest months of the year, starting in October and carrying on until May. The flowers themselves are a delightful primrose yellow and have the most wonderful scent, sometimes likened to hyacinths (but fresher and less overpowering). Grow it as a small-ish shrub of 1m (3ft) height and spread or train it up a wall or fence as a climber. Recommended for a sunny, south-facing wall but can thrive in other situations too. Can grow to 1.8m (6ft) or more but is easily controlled by pruning after flowering. Shown by Tynings Climbers.

Perfect for pots by the front door

Pelargonium ‘Pink Capricorn’ (also known as ‘Pink Capitatum) is a wonderfully giving plant. One of the most free-flowering of the scented leaf geraniums (pelargoniums) it bears large clusters of vibrant pink flowers for months on end over the summer. Its real glory, however is its delightfully fragrant leaves which simply demand to be touched. Place a couple of plants in pots either side of your front door and you’ll get a fragrant greeting every time you brush past them. The scent is warm, fruity and guaranteed to lift your mood. Grows to about 45cm (18in) height and spreads so give it a generous-sized container and bring inside a porch or conservatory if you can during the winter months. Shown by Potash Nursery.

A colourful, fragrant wallflower for beds and borders

‘Winter Orchid’ is a perennial wallflower that will knock your socks off. Its flowers are the most fantastic combination of colours – including reds, purples and oranges, which change colour as they age. They’re scented too, with that wonderful warm wallflower scent, honey with overtones of coconut and spice. Give this one a sheltered, sunny spot and it will flower almost all year round, but especially in late winter and early spring when its fragrance and warm colouring will be all the more welcome. Grows well in poor chalky soil and can reach around 30x30cm (12x12in). Shown by Proctor's Nursery.

A tiny daffodil that’s perfect for pots and garden beds

‘Hawera’ is an all-round gorgeous miniature daffodil. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in flower power, with its profuse heads of clear, light yellow flowers held well above narrow grassy leaves. The flowers have a honey scent and are great for cutting too – like most daffodils they last a long time in a vase. Being small in size they tolerate bad weather well, and they’re easy to grow in most situations. You can buy them potted in spring or, preferably as dry bulbs in autumn (look for the biggest bulbs you can find). Shown by Scamp's Daffodils, our Master Grower at the show.

Read more:

RHS Membership

Members enjoy early booking and discounted tickets to RHS Shows.

Join the RHS

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.