Grow an Aromatherapy Garden
I don’t know if you are like me, but some of my strongest childhood memories and connected feelings are associated with smells. To this day, the scent of vanilla and bourbon pipe tobacco takes me back to memories of long walks with my grandpa and his dog, Scamper. Oh, how I loved those walks; exploring the forest while eating wild strawberries and raspberries, learning how to skip rocks on the lake, and hunting for Garter Snakes and Spring Peeper Frogs in the tall grass.
One of the most popular essential oils, lavender can be used straight from the garden in simple preparations.
We all respond differently to smells, but there are definitely some responses that seem to be universal. Aromatherapy, the practice of using essential oils from herbs, flowers and other plants for therapeutic benefit, has been used for centuries. The scent molecules, when inhaled, travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. This explains the sense of security and feeling of happiness I experience when I smell vanilla and bourbon pipe tobacco.
You can design your outdoor garden “room” with aromatherapy in mind. No matter how much space you have to work with, you can create a comfortable spot that you can enjoy fresh air mixed with the wonderful smell of flowering plants or herbs. If you have only a patio or balcony space, you can plant tender, fragrant plants in containers and bring them inside over the winter. In a larger space, you can use a fence or wall and add shrubs and vines to encourage scents to linger in the air. Place taller plants toward the rear and corners with progressively shorter plants as you move towards the center and front. Always think about the way the fragrances will mingle in the air and space plants with overpowering scents some distance apart.
Scent-sational Plants for your DIY Aromatherapy Garden
- Lilium (Oriental or Asiatic Lilies)
- Mock Orange
- Monarda (Bee Balm)
- Scented Geranium
- Sweet Pea
Harnessing aromatherapy in your garden can begin with something as simple as adding leaves of rosemary and lemongrass, and flowers of lavender in a small cheesecloth or cloth bag to float in your bath. You can dry and preserve lavender and mint for your tea and lemonade. Depending on how much effort and expense you want to invest, you can infuse essential oils by soaking herbs and flowers in special oil to extract the active compounds, or steam distill essential oils. It’s entirely up to you!
More about Outdoor Garden Rooms