It’s difficult not to be cheered by a large pink hibiscus bloom, a fragrant lilac cluster or a bright white daisy. People and wildlife alike are attracted to them. Gardeners cultivate flowers for many reasons, and many species often have multiple benefits that blend in well with surrounding plant life, such as trees, shrubs and ornamental grasses. Consider the many benefits that flowers can have in your landscape when selecting varieties.
Flowers that have a pleasing fragrance are garden standouts. Flowers such as roses, peonies and jasmine fill the air with their sweet aroma. Certain types are also favored for inclusion in arrangements and wedding bouquets. According to the University of Wisconsin, scent is derived from essential oils produced when an acid and an alcohol combine. The alcohol gives each flower its distinctive fragrance. The combination of essential oils, which can number up to 100 in orchids, also influences a flower’s smell.
Color is often the main reason gardeners cultivate flowers. Flower hues compliment a home’s exterior and draw the eye to a specific landscaped area. The University of Vermont Extension explains that color is derived from reflected light from various plant pigments, and that compounds called anthocyanidins can mainly be credited. Landscapers suggest growing flowers in similar or complimentary colors for visual appeal, although Cornell University claims “there is no right and wrong when it comes to color in the garden,” and suggests growing flowers in colors that please your particular palate.
A flower’s scent, color and structure draw wildlife to it. Butterflies are attracted to flower clusters that provide a wide landing base and have abundant nectar within theme. Hummingbirds flock to red-hued, tube-shaped flowers that are also abundant nectar sources. Even flowers that have no outstanding color and no scent attract wildlife, thanks to evolutionary adaptations. The symbiotic relationship between animals and plants ensures the survival of each by respectively offering food and pollination.
Pleasing flower scents can relax and content, but color in particular “can create a feeling of calm, graciousness, spaciousness, excitement or just about any mood a gardener wants to achieve," according to the National Garden Bureau. The organization suggests sticking to two or three colors and repeating those in a garden to have the highest impact. Red and yellow promote cheer and draw the eye quicker than other colors, Pink is soothing, white evokes crispness and order, and blue is calming.