Smelling the sweet scent of a delicate flower is usually associated more with youthful innocence, femininity and romance than it is with masculinity.
So understandably when you invite your friends around for a backyard barbeque you’re not going to impress anyone by picking delicate blossoms and offering them to your mates to smell. If you do, then you’re either going to make them feel a little uncomfortable, or they’ll think you’re getting too in touch with your feminine side.
Does this mean blokes can’t share their appreciation for fragrance in the garden? Not at all. You just need to stay clear of the whole flower scene, and opt for something a little less feminine, such as fragrant foliage. As there is nothing feminine about crushing leaves.
You see, when crushed, some native plants release a strong scent from their leaves. The most noteworthy of which are the lemon-scented plants such as the Lemon Scented Tea Tree, Gum, Ironbark, and Myrtle. There are also more common aromas such as standard Tea Tree and Eucalypt. However there are also more unexpected fragrances such as Aniseed Myrtle whose crushed leaves smell just like Sambuca.
In fact, it’s possible to create an entire native garden using only plants with fragrant foliage, as many are small enough to plant in a residential block.
Apart from not being sissy, there is another advantage fragrant foliage has over pretty flowers.
It smells all year round, so there is no need to wait for them to flower. You can grab a hand full of leaves anytime, give it a good crush, and a good sniff, and enjoy your garden without looking all new-age and sensitive.
(Published in Cairns City Life magazine, October 2007)