A project we installed a few weeks ago got me thinking about front entrances and how we use them. If you’re like me (and Jonathan) you probably enter your house through a back door or garage. It seems that as housing styles have changed so has the way that we look at and interact with our home’s primary entrance.
So, the project that we recently completed is in an older neighborhood of Durham, where street parking is dominant, and many residents still enter through their front door. If you’re wondering why this matters – I mean, a front yard is always very prominent, even if only for people driving by on the street – here’s my answer – FRAGRANCE! A space that is used every day and one where you can predict exactly where the users will walk is a great opportunity to incorporate fragrant plants.
Some of my favorite fragrant plants actually come into bloom in late winter and early spring. Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis, or Himalayan Sweetbox is one of these plants. It is very low growing, evergreen, and a great option for part shade or full shade conditions. Daphne odora ‘Aureo-marginata’ is also a fantastic plant for fragrance. Daphne can be somewhat finicky, but once established makes a beautiful addition to the garden by providing glossy variegated evergreen foliage in a mid size shrub.
For summer fragrance, try one of the many great native plants, Clethra alnifolia or Sweetpepper Bush. My favorite variety is ‘Hummingbird’, which is smaller than the straight species, topping out at four feet tall – this plant will do wonderfully in part shade and into the sun. Less noticeable to the human nose but wonderful for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard is another native – Agastache or Anise – which needs full sun for the best flowering.
Try these and other fragrant plants throughout your yard, but remember, you’ll get the most enjoyment out of them when placed near a path or a space that you routinely pass through!