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Enjoy the Fragrance of Spring

This article was first published on 14 Nov 2019.

Syringa vulgaris

Syringa vulgaris

Photo by the Otago Daily Times

What do the plants honeysuckle, lemon verbena, Australian mint bush, Chilean guava and vanilla tree all have in common? They all smell divine and are part of a large collection of fragrant plants in the lower Dunedin Botanic Garden.

The Fragrant Plant Theme border runs along the boundary of Great King Street.  All the plants contain delicious fragrances in their flowers, fruits, leaves or sometimes even bark and wood.  The plant collection shelters the botanic garden from the business of city life and provides an inner haven.  Its distance from the main path through the garden also creates a quiet space away from the thoroughfare crowds.

A gently curved path leads the visitor through the wider Theme Collections.  This sheltered area has seats for sitting and enjoying the heady perfumes. Walking outside on the street footpath is also rewarding with the occasional drift of perfume.

The collection contains most of the scented plants that grow well in Dunedin.  Flowering currently are Mexican orange blossom, daphne, lilac (pictured), lily of the valley, rosemary and boronia. Fragrant roses, rhododendrons and herbaceous plants are already well represented in other collections, so they are not included in large numbers.

We have also decided against using the nose-wrinkling effect of New Zealand’s stinking coprosma, well named by some as fart plant, though it is worth seeking out in the native plant collection!