Aromatherapy in the Garden

Aromatherapy in the Garden
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We all realize that aromatherapy begins with plants! But long before I had ever heard the term 'aromatherapy' I, as well as most herb gardeners, were practicing it in practical ways.
We planted creeping thyme in pathway cracks so we could appreciate its soothing, warm smell as we walked on it. I placed lemon verbena and lemon balm close to that pathway so I could brush against it for a quick lift from the delightful fragrance. I 'attempted' to start a chamomile lawn where I could sit in it...I only managed to finish about a four foot patch, but I can still sit in it and make chamomile tea from the flowers.

I plant herbs and flowers with the fragrances I most enjoy. The scent of blue sage is one of my favorites, and is especially fragrant in autumn. I place aromatic herbs in containers on the patios near the gate and house entrance where guests always notice them.

I do use essential oils for therapeutic or aesthetic purposes. But at first I didn't realize those little bottles of fragrant oils originated in plants. Now I know I can reap the same aromatherapeutic benefits while working and relaxing in the garden.

For many of us our strongest childhood memories are associated with smell. Smell is our most primitive sense. Memories recalled by smells often feel more vivid and emotional than those associated with sights, sounds and tastes. Unlike the other sense organs, the nose sends information directly to the limbic system, a primitive part of the brain concerned with memory and emotion.

The garden offers endless opportunities for us to enhance our sense of calm or energize our spirits, and to visit our memories. By planting a wide array of fragrant plants, including those known to have aromatherapeutic effects, you can have new aromas with each change of season.

The first step in designing an aromatherapy garden is to create a sense of outdoor garden room. An enclosed space will encourage volatizing oils to linger in the air. This kind of garden also has a sense of intimacy that's difficult to accomplish in a more open garden.

*Use gravel, flagstones,rocks, etc., on a footpath to allow plenty of space to plant low-growing herbs in the cracks.

*Curve the garden beds around the edges to soften the lines and create a feeling of depth at the back of the garden. Consider the way the fragrances will mingle in the air.

*Planting in containers enables you to have tender, fragrant plants in your garden and in the winter, you can move them inside to enjoy them.

When you have an aromatherapy garden you not only enjoy the fragrant plants outdoors but also have the convenience of easy bring them indoors. Some plants for the aromatherapy garden include;

Sweet basil

Holy Basil


Bay laurel

Bee balm


Clove pink








Lily-of the-valley






Scented Geraniums





Just imagine yourself sitting on a bench, eyes closed, breathing in the fragrance of some of the world's most aromatic plants!


About The Author

herb gardens

Karen Hegre

I feel very fortunate to have met Karen, and to be able to share her wonderful crafts and herbal inspiration with our visitors. She has a gentle soul and contributes not only her words but encouragement as well.

Karen is a Master Gardener specializing in herbs, a mom and grandma. She and her husband have a Backyard Wildlife Habitat, plus 'Fairy Gardens' where the children can learn about different herbs and hear Karen read a story about the Garden Fairies and Flowers. They are open to the public May through September.

Karen owns several discussion lists, which we have listed below with the subscription information. All are free to join and a joy to be a member of!

Karen's Herbal Kitchen: A list for exchanging herbal recipes! Click Here to subscribe.

Nature Crafts: This is a list for those who enjoy crafting with Nature and want to learn more!! We will share projects, learn ways of preserving those natural items and much more. Click Here to subscribe.

Keepers Of the Gardens: This list is a 'learning & sharing' list on how to create beautiful back yard habitats for birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other wildlife including bees, dragonflies, frogs, toads & other friendly insects & reptiles. Click Here to subscribe.

Aromatherapy One-0-One: This is a list for learning the basics of Aromatherapy and Essential Oils. A friendly place for questions and ideas... a place where we can learn from each other. Click Here to subscribe.


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