Summer bulbs for a sweetly scented garden


How do flowers produce their fragrances? Plants make use of light and warmth to produce not only nutrients but also aromatics: substances with a fragrance. These are stored in special cells. When these ‘fragrance cells’ open, their aromatic substance is released. Solid or liquid substances then turn into gas. And because these aromatic substances evaporate into the air, we can smell them.

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All summer bulbs produce scented flowers, but four of them really stand out. These are Abyssinian gladioli, lilies-of-the-valley, freesias and oriental lilies. While they don’t have anything in common when it comes to their appearance, each of them has its own special perfume. Abyssinian gladioli smell sweet, lilies-of-the-valley have a fresh almost citron-like scent, freesias have a sharp peppery to delightfully sweet smell, and oriental lilies have a delicate sultry fragrance.

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An exceptional case

All four of these summer bulbs should be planted in the spring after there’s no more chance of freezing temperatures. In general, summer bulbs won’t survive through the winter. Lilies-of-the-valley, however, are the exception to this rule. When you plant these, they will start to naturalize. This means that they will produce their sweet-smelling flowers every year – and even many more after a few years.