Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across a thousand miles and all the years we have lived. – Helen Keller
Sitting in the garden in the midst of fragrant flowers and herbs is an experience to treasure. It can bring to mind pleasant memories of the past; perhaps a memory of walking hand in hand with a favourite grandparent, or a summer’s day from the past when one was young and the days were long and free.
Gardeners have been practicing aromatherapy for hundreds of years, even before the term was heard! Whether just by planting a fragrant, creeping thyme amongst flagstone cracks, or, by planting a window box with herbs and flowers, one is treated to an aromatic experience!
In the Spring and Summer the garden offers many wonderful scents such as lilacs, lily-of-the-valley and peonies, and, as spring moves into summer, one is treated to an array of scents including those of rose, alyssum, sweet William, pinks, lavender, valerian, and, our family’s favourite, lemon verbena.
One can enjoy the scents of a garden either by planting old-fashioned annuals and perennials for their scented flowers, such as four o’clocks, heliotrope, lavender, clary sage, or, herbs for their fragrant leaves.
There are a wide range of scents to choose from such as basil, catnip, sage, thyme or scented geraniums.. Scented geraniums come in a myriad of scents including mint, lemon, apple, rose, peppermint or lime, just to name a few. One may even decide to plant a lemon garden which would include lemon thyme, lemon verbena, and lemon basil. If there is room in the garden for a shrub or two, honeysuckle and lilacs are heavenly scents.
Ancient history has shown that fragrant plants were used to heal the mind, body and emotions so it seems appropriate to say that aromatherapy begins in the garden, and outside of the garden when summer’s blooms have long gone, one may remember the heavenly scents of spring and summer by utilizing essential oils, which are the heart, soul and spirit of the plant, the true essence. These can be applied to the body for skin care, for therapeutic use with massage, or, can just scent your home with an oil diffuser. Just another way to remember the scents of the garden!
Claudia Sutton and her family own and operate Forget-me-Not Herbs ‘n Wildflowers, a greenhouse operation growing annuals, perennials and 250 varieties of aromatic, medicinal and decorative potted herbs. Aromatherapy is a growing interest for Claudia as she nears completion of her training as a Certified Aromatherapist.