Many gardens are filled with magnificent and showy large plants, whose striking flowers, like the delphinium make passersby hold their breath with the sight. But that is not all that makes the garden. Many insignificant looking flowers may be passed by with looks of contempt; but be caught by their fragrance and you will be captivated forever.
Some flowers were loved by the Victorians, not for their beautiful looks; but for their glorious smell. Mignonette, hard to get hold of now (Sutton seeds do sell them, and have them in their catalogue. www.suttons.co.uk/shop/flower+seeds/list ) is an annual. Insignificant flowers, of yellowy red, but the scent is like being in heaven.
Sow near where you will sit in an evening or in the day. Sow in raked soil, top with thin layer of compost in March or April. Protect from frost. Also put slug pellets down. Thin them out if necessary. Collect seed heads for next year. Then you will not have to by more seeds, hopefully.
Night stock too, looks insignificant, but at night the perfume fills the air with its wonderful fragrance. Plant night stock the same way as mignonette. Follow the same rules with the same care taken for prevention of slugs and frost.
Nicotiana is another plant grown for smell in the evening; but in the case of nicotiana it also looks pretty. As well as the tall variety, that needs staking; there is a small variety of dwarf flowering nicotiana. You should have no problem at all finding seeds for this popular plant. Any good retailer should do it. Or you could swap some seeds with a neighbour who grows it. Again protect the flowers from that garden pest Mr. Slug!
Heliotrope was once really popular. Its small purple flowers growing next to each other form a heavy flower head. These give off a wonderful fragrance; that gives it its nickname of Cherry pie. It can also be used as a house plant. Although not popular; it is worth growing for its scent.
For edges or the rockery, Alyssum is a beautifully white or pink flower that smells of honey. It is common. Itís low lying flowers seen every where, but it is so worth it.
As stately and magnificent delphiniums and hollyhocks look; they still do not compete with the more insignificant flowers, whose perfume fills the summer nights and day air. Both kinds are needed to make the garden complete.