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3rd boxNovember sown annual flowers can be planted in your garden, terraces, balconies and rooftops with a blaze of long lasting colour and never-to-be forgotten fragrance.

Climbing or dwarf sweet peas are ideal for winter through spring for perfumed beauty – as are dianthus, matticolia, nicotiana, phlox, stocks, sweet sultan, sweet William and Virginia, with herbs such as lavender, oregano and thyme adding to the overall impact. All of these can thrive throughout the cooler months if you give them love and individual care. (Remember to harvest seeds when fully ripe and then store them for the next season, which will make your initial investment endlessly worthwhile).

You will find flowering bulbs in nurseries over the next few weeks, and for perfumed perfection it is hard to beat Dutch hyacinths, delicate freesias and nargis for a romantic overtone, even on the dullest of days.

Bulbous plants should be allowed to die naturally when they have finished flowering and then left in the soil/compost throughout the year to allow them to multiply. It is always best to let nature have its way!

If you have garden space to spare, or plenty of room for cultivating perennial shrubs in large clay pots, winter flowering shrubs such as cestrum nocturnum (raat ki rani), frangipani (chumpa), murraya exotica (kamni), tabernamontae (chandni), and the ever popular varieties of fragrant roses are excellent choices, as long as their sun, shade and watering requirements are given due consideration.

If you can only cultivate directly in the ground, there is the gorgeous, relatively fast growing tree, Millingtonia Hortensis (cork tree) which smothers itself in perfumed white flowers from April through July and again from November to December and which deserves to be more widely grown than current garden trends suggest.

Go give it a try and let us have perfume all the way, all day and at night too!

– B Khan

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on November 2, 2014.