In the cool weather seasons of fall and spring, count on flowering stock (Matthiola incana) to deliver amazing fragrance with its strong and spicy clove scented blooms. This variety is ‘Sugar & Spice,’ and it grows 10 to 12 inches tall and 8 to 10 inches wide. Stock is a much beloved old-fashioned flower, a common plant in Victorian-era gardens. The modern varieties offer things like better heat tolerance and a vivid range of jewel-tone blooms, including deep violet, rose-pink, fuchsia and white. Use flowering stock in containers or planting beds, placing it near an entrance so you can savor the scent. This is an annual plant, dying after hard frost.
The yellow flowers of tomatillo plants bear a striking resemblance to tomato blossoms. Tomatillo blooms must be cross pollinated to form fruit. This means you need two or more tomatillo plants. Arranging plants in a block in the garden makes it easy for bees to pollinate effectively and efficiently.
If you want to lure pollinator insects to your garden, including lawn grub-eating beauties like this blue-winged wasp, grow a patch of mint and let it bloom. Mint flower spikes feature many small blossoms, the kind that pollinating insects can’t resist. Expect to see bees, beneficial wasps, flower flies, sweat bees and butterflies. If you want to harvest mint for drying, do so before flowers appear. Once blossoms start to form, the flavor profile of leaves shifts to become bitter.
If you love hummingbirds, include cardinal flower (Lobelia speciosa) in your yard. The brilliant red blossoms on this perennial are a magnet for hummers. Plants branch well and produce flowers on strong upright spikes from midsummer into early fall. Site this native in full sun to part shade. Deer- and rabbit-resistant plants grow 20 to 24 inches tall by 12 to 14 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 6-10. If you prefer pink flowers, look for ‘Starship Rose’ cardinal flower.
Incorporate your favorite blooms at an outdoor wedding with these glass vase garden stakes. Just a few steps and materials make this project doable for even the non-crafty bride. Frosted glass paint lends a romantic vibe to the finished product.
Star shape blooms beckon butterflies and moths on flowering tobacco plants. An old-fashioned plant, this annual tolerates heat and humidity. Flowers produce a sweet floral perfume that’s more pronounced at dusk. Flowering tobacco is also known as Nicotiana, and this type is Avalon Mix. It’s the most dwarf variety available, growing 7 to 10 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide. Flowers open to 1.5 inches across and come in shades of lime, pink, lime purple, red and white.
Can’t get enough chocolate? Then this is the plant for you. Chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata) is a native wildflower from the Southwest. These sunny yellow blossoms release a rich chocolate fragrance during the morning hours. Plants are drought-tolerant once established and make a great choice for low water-use or xeriscape gardens. Encourage longer blooming and tame plant sprawl by cutting stems back in midsummer. Chocolate flower grows 12 to 20 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Related to snapdragons, twinspur (Diaschia)is a cool-weather annual, producing its bright blooms as long as nighttime temperatures stay below 70 or so. In northern climates, that means flowers from spring through fall until the first hard frost. Comes in pink, rose, orange, salmon, cream, white and combos. Perennial in USDA Zone 7 and warmer.
Summer Cascade wisteria blossoms form on new stem growth each spring, which means that this wisteria blooms reliably in colder regions. Flowers open dark purple and fade to a pale lavender. When blooms die, they form a velvety seed pod that often stays on the vine into winter, adding another season of interest to this climbing beauty. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Most cooks value fresh garlic, and many a gardener also enjoys its large spring Allium flowers. The ones that grow best locally are often shared between gardeners, who plant individual cloves in the fall and harvest and dry the bulbs the following spring.
This photo, taken at the National Heirloom Exposition, shows a billowing arrangement of antique flowers grown not just for garden beauty but also as great long-lasting cut flowers – a great way to bring outdoors beauty and fragrance indoors.
The drying process can take up to a week or more. The higher the moisture content of the petals, the longer the process. When ready for use, simply open the book and gently slide your flowers off the wax paper.