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Aromatherapy! Grow Your Own Herb Garden and Add Beautiful Scents to Your Life!

Updated on January 12, 2010
Lavender! Smells as beautiful as it looks (can even calm an anxious dog!).
Lavender! Smells as beautiful as it looks (can even calm an anxious dog!).

Planting a garden can be a lot of fun. There's nothing like putting a ripe, juicy slice of tomato on your hamburger…especially if that tomato was hand-picked from your own garden! The same can be said for growing your own scents that you can actually use in aromatherapy. So what exactly is aromatherapy you ask? Well, in a nutshell, aromatherapy is the use of fragrance in order to affect or alter a person's mood or behavior. Think about it….different scents are everywhere….and believe it or not, these scents (whether consciously or unconsciously) can actually affect your way of thinking and your actions. So if the smell of lilac puts you in a good mood, or the fresh scent of lavender calms you after a hard day at work, why not grow your own garden (no matter how big or small) and have your favorite scents available at your fingertips!

 

Wonderful Herbs and Easy to Grow!

Ok, so what are the best herbs to grow for fragrance? Well, my sweet smelling friends, there are many….and not only will the herbs you choose make your home smell wonderful, you will also attract an array of beautiful butterflies and birds to your yard or patio as well. While I'm on the subject of wildlife, if you would like to read more about attracting hummingbirds to your yard, be sure to read The Hummingbird Feeding Guide (it provided me with some great tips about what hummingbirds like to eat!). Anyway, back to the subject at hand. The first plant that I recommend for your garden is lavender. Not only is lavender beautiful it smells simply wonderful and is known to be quite calming. In fact, a short time ago, I read an article about lavender and the calming effect it has on dogs! Who knew!! There just so happens to be a rambunctious, crazy Beagle staring at me as I type this. She most definitely could use the calming scent of lavender!  Lavender is a perennial that requires full sun in order to thrive. It prefers sandy, well-drained soil and can grow two to three feet tall. English lavender is the most fragrant and the hardiest…so if you are a beginner when it comes to gardening, English lavender is your best bet.

Delicious...cold mint tea!
Delicious...cold mint tea!

Next up, peppermint! Peppermint is EXTREMELY easy to grow. In fact, at one point, you may have to cut back your peppermint so that it doesn't take over every other plant in your garden (it is quite bossy!). Peppermint, like lavender, is a perennial. It likes full sun, however, you should plant your peppermint in part shade so that the sun doesn't diminish the plant's oil content. The best thing about this plant is that, as mentioned before, it is very easy to grow and will thrive in just about any soil. You can use peppermint for many things…to make tea, ice cream…even massage oil! Peppermint is energizing and most certainly a wonderful consideration for your garden!

Jasmine, though not as easy to grow as peppermint, has a warm, exotic scent. Known to stimulate brain waves and actually sharpen mental awareness, this plant would be ideal to have in your garden if you have a stressful job and need to think fast on your feet!  Jasmine also grows well in ten gallon pots…ideal if you don't have room for an actual garden. Roses can also be grown in pots on your patio so they too are a wonderful option.

Rosemary...grow some in a pot on your patio!
Rosemary...grow some in a pot on your patio!

Finally, I would feel awful if I left out Rosemary. Rosemary is tall and graceful (not to mention an early bloomer!). This tall, bushy herb is a perennial that requires full sun. It prefers well drained, fairly dry soil. Rosemary has a sharp, wood-like smell and there is significant evidence that it helps to improve memory. It is also known to increase energy but be careful….Rosemary can actually be too stimulating and increase an individual's blood pressure if used in excess!

Growing your very own herb garden is only one way that you can incorporate the wonderful world of aromatherapy into your life.  Gardening is a lot of fun…not to mention therapeutic! Planting a garden is not only a great way to get some much needed exercise (and fresh air) it is also a great way to beautify your surroundings (by sight and smell!). Obviously, I have recommended a very small number of plants that can add scent to your life….there are MANY more! To learn more about planting an herb garden be sure to visit your local nursery or better yet, do an on-line search. You might just be surprised at the number of plants available that can actually improve your mood and your life!  Good luck…and here's to beautiful scents and a green thumb!

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