Learning with experts

The Scented GardenTaught by Dr Rachel Petheram

Start anytime

Scent has a powerful effect on emotion and mood and a fragrant garden can be a means to health, well-being and pleasure

  • Course suitable for all abilities

  • Understand the effect scent has on the brain

  • Designing for maximum fragrance

  • Which plants to choose


Suitable for all abilities

Scent has a powerful effect on emotion and mood and a fragrant garden can be a means to health, well-being and pleasure. This four week course covers how we perceive scent and how it can directly affect not only our mood but our physiology. This knowledge can then can be used to good effect in our gardens. If we want somewhere to relax and de-stress or if we want an outside work space where we can be refreshed and invigorated, then there is a plant to fill the brief.

However, we often miss the effect of fragrance in our gardens because it is such a fleeting, ethereal thing so we need to make sure that our gardens are designed to maximise the beneficial effects of this lovely sense. 

You are encouraged through the suggested assignments to design your own fragrant space tailored to your own requirements and to share your experience along the way.

The Curriculum

  • 1. Lesson 1

    In this lecture you will understand the science behind scent, and the effect it has on the brain. Scent has a hugely beneficial effect on our mood and behavior, but it is difficult to classify and describe scent. In this session we will learn about how our sense of smell works, how we interpret scent and factors that affect our response and the beneficial effects that scent has on our physiology.

  • 2. Lesson 2

    Scent is often overlooked when gardens are designed. In this session we will discuss how gardens or part of a garden can be designed to maximise the effect of fragrant plants in a garden. We will consider very basic design principles, and think about how we can best ensure that scent is considered at every layer. We will also cover special considerations for scented gardens.

  • 3. Lesson 3

    The choice of scented plants is not just confined to the herbaceous border. In this lesson we will consider how vital structures like hedges, climbers and trees can add structure to a garden as well as introducing different layers of scent.

  • 4. Lesson 4

    The really pretty stuff! In this session we will consider fragrant perennials, annuals and biennials, bulbs, herbs and roses. We will discuss which ones are best for scent and how to get the best out of your plants as well as tips on propagating.

Meet your expert tutor

My name is Dr Rachel Petheram. I am an artisan florist, a gardener and a teacher. My flower story started in 2002 when I grew some of my own wedding flowers. As a full time lecturer in animal nutr...read more

Why you'll love learning here

  • Exclusive: Be coached directly by Dr Rachel Petheram

  • Motivating: Intimate community of students, share ideas and feedback

  • Fun: Get a new perspective with classmates from around the world

  • Inspiring: Real experts sharing their secrets

  • Convenient: Fits with real life. Study whenever and wherever you like

  • Forever: Lifetime access to videos, notes and classmates

Start whenever you like

  • Start and learn whenever
  • Interactive virtual classroom
  • Engaging video content
  • Downloadable notes
  • Learn with classmates
  • Unlimited classroom access


Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Dr Rachel Petheram.



Discover the power of group learning. International virtual classroom of no more than 20 people, benefit from shared knowledge and community study.


Our community loves us

As recommended by