"You can go to any of your local nurseries and you'll find a variety of plants that you can use for fragrances in and around your home and multi uses. They are very cost-effective once they are planted, they can last for years," said Thomas Andrews with Calloway/Cornelius Nursery.
Some of Thomas' Favorites are thyme, sage, lavender and dill.
Most herbs like to be in a tight container or tight location that produces more foliage. The more you trim on them the more you get foliage and fragrance out of them.
There are several different types of mints, including spearmint, pineapple mint and peppermint. Each has a little different fragrance but it's a very sweet smell with peppermint being one of the strongest.
Upright rosemary will grow anywhere from 15-18 inches tall. It loves a lot of sun, it loves to be hot and dry, and does well in sauces and potpourris.
Red Venture Celery has the taste of celery but it doesn't have the smell of it. It does have the taste that you can use in your cooking.
"When you're cutting your herbs you want to use for drying, if you will go through and use a light cut or what I call a pinch - you don't have to have scissors or anything just break them off," said Thomas. "When you're pinching Rosemary make sure you pinch it on a green stem you don't want to go too far down on the stem when it starts getting dark brown or woody because it produces more foliage when it's still green."
4" potted herbs will run you about $2.49.
When growing herbs inside, Thomas says be sure to keep them in a sunny location like on a kitchen window sill.
Gardenia, Stock, Jasmine
Typically gardenia and stock grow outside, but if you're having a party you can take them in and they'll give a lot of fragrance into your home or you can take cuttings from them.
"Typically in your garden centers you'll find jasmine in hanging baskets," Thomas said. "If you don't have anywhere to hang them you can take the hanging basket off and you've got a pot plant to go in the center of your outdoor table or you can use it indoors also and it will give you a lot of fragrance."
When drying herbs or flowers Thomas recommends picking them first thing in the morning between 7-8 am.
Lay them on paper towels to absorb the moisture for about 30-45 minutes so they won't get moldy.
You can clip them to a coat hanger with clothes pins and hang them upside down to allow the oil to draw back into the stem. Thomas recommends leaving them to dry for 6-8 weeks.
If you lack patience like me, you can use a conventional dehydrator which will do the job in much less time!
These next plants are great for the patio:
Citrosa is a natural insect repellant. It has a fragrance to it like a citronella candle, but it's not as strong as citronella candles. If you grow them in containers or in the ground around your patio it really does help to ward off mosquitoes. All you have to do is brush up against the leaves and it puts the fragrance out.
Meyer lemon has a very high fragrance. It is a flower plus it will also over time produce a lot of lemons. Most of the 5-gallon citrus at Cornelius cost $44.99, a good bargain because the first year you can get anywhere from 15-25 lemons off each tree. But this one is strictly to be used outside or on the patio - you cannot clip the fragrant flowers or you'll lose your fruit production. Bay Leaf
Bay leaf is an herb you can use as a shrub. It does real well in landscaping, as you can get many years of production of the leaves. It costs $49.99, but compared to getting a small amount of dried bay leaves in the grocery store, you can see the difference over time you're saving a lot of money.
RECIPE: Water Infused Natural Deodorizers
Directions: Cut your lemon, measure the rosemary to fit your jar and add all the ingredients to a pot. Bring it to a boil and then simmer. You can store the ingredients in a jar and re-heat to give your home a subtle scent for days. You can also make water infused deodorizers ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
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