RHS Companion to Scented Plants : Book Review & Give Away

There is nothing more evocative than a scent, it will remind us of people, places and events.   Our olfactory senses work overtime with recognised smells.  They can bring back a flood of memories, affect our mood and even help us relax and sleep.   Some of us can’t abide the perfume from lilies, chlorine from swimming pools but I think we would all agree that there is no point of a rose without a scent.

I believe that the majority of gardeners take scent and colour into the equation when choosing plants for our gardens. It is absolutely wonderful to walk into a garden in the evening to be met with heady aromas wafting in the air.   To help us select the ideal plants, be they trees, shrubs, perennials or roses, it is always helpful to have a book to refer to and give us ideas and planting information.

Frances Lincoln Publishers released the RHS Companion to Scented Plants on 16 October 2014. The author of this book is Stephen Lacey is a well known garden writer and the book is complimented with photographs by Andrew Lawson.

RHS Companion to Scented Plants lrThis is a large hardback book with 320 pages, measuring 250 x 190 mm.  The first chapters “Scent & the Gardener” and “The Nature of Scent” cover the basics of planting in sun and shade, the types of floral scent and even covers unpleasant odours, such as the flowering currant Ribes smelling like cat’s urine, which is always an issue I have with my Ribes.  At least I was sensible enough not to plant it anywhere near to my Jasmine!

I always like a gardening book that provides planning ideas and there is no disappointment here.  We are given four plans, all with interesting scented plants.

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Most of the chapters are set out in the form of a catalogue, broken down into trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials and herbs to name but a few.

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The chapter on roses is detailed with beautiful photographs, and the roses are categorised into the type of rose, Gallica, Alba, Bourbon etc. with information about each type before listing what I think are probably the popular varieties with the strongest scents. I couldn’t find the two roses I have in my garden, Compassion and Peace which is sad because they have beautiful perfumes also.  I have learned that Buff Beauty is a Hybrid Musk and Charles de Mills is a Gallica rose and where they grow best and the size they are.

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I can do no better than quote Frances Lincoln Publishers who, quite rightly, describe the RHS Companion to Scented Plants as “An authoritative guide to creating beautiful, well designed gardens that are highly scented and shows how scent can turn a good-looking garden into an unforgettable one.”

Win a copy of this beautiful book by entering into the Book Give Away competition.  You can do this by leaving a comment to say you wish to be entered into the draw.   As usual this is open only to those with a UK address.


I will announce the winner on Saturday 25 October 2014.  If you are unlucky in the draw or live abroad all is not lost, the lovely people at Frances Lincoln have a readers offer for you:

To order RHS Companion to Scented Plants at the discounted price of £20.00 including p&p* (RRP: £25.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG238. 
*UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.


  1. Congratulations Margaret @ Margaret’s Patch! Your name came out of the hat, I have emailed you for address.

    Look out for the next book review which is just right for Christmas : “GiftWrapped”


  2. I would love to be entered into the draw, I love scented plants in the garden and I have a special area where I sit and like to plant scented plants around


  3. Oh, please add my name to the hat! This looks a lovely book – I’m beginning to realise the importance of including fragrance in the garden, so this would be a great help!


  4. I can’t enter the drawing since I’m in the U. S., but I wanted to comment anyway and tell you that this is a lovely post and a terrific idea. I think I’m in the mood to give something away. Let me think …….


  5. The older I get, the more important scent becomes! It’s the first thing I look for when choosing a plant!
    This looks like a book I need to put on my Christmas list!
    Would love to win a copy!!


  6. ooer, yes please – stick me in the draw please Ronnie – this looks like a ‘must have’ book. I adore scented plants and have always tried to find varieties with fragrance. Have never grown Ribes because of that cat pee smell, yuck. And I must stopping rubbing the leaves of the curry plant as that smell remains on the skin for days. Great review btw.
    Jude xx


    • Thank you Jude, it is always difficult to write an interesting review and entice people to want to win a book.

      I always tell myself I will cut the Ribes down but when it is flowering it redeems itself. Your name is in the hat – good luck!


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