How to make your garden bloom

The West's best flowers for borders, beds, bouquets, and containers

17 favorite fragrant blossoms

Grow these bloomers to perfume your garden—and your home

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How to bring the scent inside
Photo by Janis Nicolay; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel

How to bring the scent inside

Cutting. The best time to cut stems and branches is in the early morning or evening when the air is cool. Use sharp pruners.

 Roses: Make cuts above a set of five leaves.

 Shrubs: Cut flowers that grow in clusters, such as lilac and mock orange, before all buds have opened.

 Trees: Clip branches when buds start to fatten, making cuts just above a growth bud (take care not to disfigure your tree).

 Vines: Snip flowering stems of polyanthus jasmine, and remove the lowest leaves and blooms.

Caring. As you cut, plunge all branches or stems immediately in a bucket of lukewarm water. Before arranging woody ones (including flowering plum, lilac, and magnolia), remove the lower leaves, recut the stem ends at a slant, and make a 1- to 2-inch slit through the bottom of each stem.

Preserving. Fill a vase with lukewarm water, then add a floral preservative before inserting cuttings. Keep arrangements out of direct sunlight, and change the water and recut stem ends as needed.

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