One reason why I prefer garden-grown flowers to supermarket ones is the potential for having lots of scented flowers and herbs. I know the reason supermarkets lead the cut flower market in Britain is because of convenience and price, and I understand why that’s so necessary for most people, but really, how often are people wowed by sweet-smelling supermarket flowers? And how often do people lift up shop-bought flowers to smell them, only to be disappointed when there’s no scent?

If you’re lucky, you can get some scented flowers in supermarkets and regular florists. I’ve mentioned scented roses on the roses page, but, apart from garden roses, the main scented wholesale roses that I’ve enjoyed using are Norma Jeane (white), Grand Prix or Red Naomi (red), Ocean Song/Boyfriend or Pacific Blue (lilac), and Miss Piggy (orange-pink).

Many peonies smell gorgeous. I generally find that the fluffy, herbaceous peonies such as Sarah Bernhardt, Shirley Temple or Sorbet are especially scented, but do look at Claire Austin’s website to search for scented varieties. During the small peony-flowering season, you can catch beautiful peony displays in gardens and see for yourself how scented they are when the plant has developed, as I did at Penshurst Place. This photo was taken at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show - I think it's Kelsey's display, but please let me know if I'm mistaken.

Spring flowers are full of fragrance. Peony and double tulips are often scented, and if you grow your own bulbs, you can choose scented varieties of tulips and narcissi. You don’t need a garden – you can grow them in pots indoors. Hyacinths and Paperwhite narcissi are highly scented, but I find they can be too heady to leave indoors if someone is prone to headaches. Muscari have a wonderful, clean, bubblegum scent, and they make pretty posies when mixed with other dainty spring flowers such as fritillaries. There are many great bulb growers out there, but I would personally recommend Taylor’s and Pheasant Acre Plants – they have both displayed at Chelsea and their flowers are beautiful. The tulips bulbs I bought from Pheasant Acre Plants, some scented, did well – and my old South Wales attachment likes the fact that they are based in Bridgend. The grower Johnny Walkers (from Walkers Bulbs at Taylors) has won 20 consecutive Gold awards at Chelsea for his daffodils – his stand was the first thing I saw when I walked into the Flower Pavilion in 2012, and it was a stunning display, as you can see here.

Apple blossom and orange blossom have a delicate scent that will gently fill a room. But of course, if you cut the blossom from a fruit-bearing tree, then you will have fewer fruits come the autumn.

Chocolate cosmos seems to evoke child-like wonder in all who come across it for the first time. A pretty, dainty, rich brown, they are as rich-looking and shiny as melted chocolate and smell just like it. One of the sellers at New Covent Garden Market told me to smell them the first time I stopped and looked at the pretty bunch that was left in a bucket; I think that most people must react as I did to the yummy scent. I bought a plant the next year and it gave me long-lasting cut flowers all summer. Other delicious-smelling flowers are stocks, Sweet Williams and pinks. Even though they are a summer flower, stocks in particular remind me of Christmas because they smell so strongly of cloves.

Sweet peas are such quintessentially English flowers. They look like ruffled pieces of silk, and they come in all sorts of colours, from white to mixed pink and purple to almost black. They are strongly scented – along with jasmine, I’m not sure how to describe the scent other than ‘floral’…which seems like a rather obvious description for flowers. Matthewman’s sweet peas include the brilliantly-named and highly scented Welcome to Yorkshire. I took this photo at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2012.

Lilies and gardenias have famously heady scents, to the point that they can be a bit love them or hate them. I only ever use Asiatic lilies, which are unscented, unless I’m asked otherwise. But I’ve encountered many people who tell me how much they love the scent of lilies. Gardenias are another flower that smell gorgeous, but some people do find them too overpowering. So use them wisely!

Herbs are lovely to use, both for their scent, their natural beauty, and often for their wonderful symbolism. And, of course, you can eat most of them if you don’t want to use them for flower arrangements! Mint is a great foliage to use – apple mint is especially good for floristry because it grows so tall, and the flowering Buddleia Mint has pretty, lilac, veronica-like (or rather, buddleia-like) flowers on top, and the fresh scent is especially strong. Thyme can be a bit more delicate, but it smells delightful and the flowers are pretty. There are lots of different types, ranging from 2cm tall, pretty Bressingham Thyme (not the best to use for floristry!) to 35cm ‘Aureus’ Golden Thyme. Sage smells luscious (although it doesn't last as well as the other herbs in a vase) and there are lots of flowering varieties, which vary in colour from White Flowering Sage to Blackcurrant Sage which has elegant raspberry-red flowers. And rosemary, as well as being great to use in floristry work, makes me think of Sunday roast dinners every time I use it. That might sound like an odd smell to want to use in floristry, but it honestly works well, especially if it’s mixed with other herbs. Jekka McVicar is the queen of herbs, but I also recommend Hooksgreen Herbs, and they both display at Chelsea. This is Hooksgreen Herbs' Blackcurrant Sage, taken at a very sunny RHS Wisley show.

Lavender is a Mediterranean herb that most people will have seen in a front garden or public space. Sometimes the smell of the flowers (or foliage in the case of French lavender) or the buzz of the bees reaches you before you see it. When I visited the Mayfield Lavender farm, the scent hit me before I’d even got off the bus! Both English and French lavenders are lovely to use in flower arrangements, lending their calming blue-purple, and the French varieties add interest with their distinctive ‘ears’. Incidentally, it’s not a cliché; the scent of the fresh flowers really is relaxing.

If you want a one-stop shop, Sarah Raven sells many of the flowers and herbs I’ve mentioned, as well as plenty more. She trials the plants, checking for scent and how long they last when cut, which is invaluable information for a gardener-florist. Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants was my favourite display at Chelsea, and you can search for 'scent', which brings up treasures including lily of the valley, pinks, almost 30 phlox, and a dozen violas. Cottage garden flowers make colourful, highly textured flower arrangements. This is Hardy's 2012 dreamy garden display at Chelsea.

The Lonely Bouquet movement proved that that you can produce beautiful, sweet-smelling bouquets from garden plants – your own or a generous gardener neighbour’s – that you can enjoy long after the bouquet has died. And the plants are there already! What could be more convenient and less expensive than that?

Be warned, though: scented flowers don’t last forever. The energy that the plant uses in keeping the flower alive and scented, means that these beauties tend to have shorter lifespans than non-scented flowers. I started off with a summery lonely bouquet of scented Cariad David Austin roses, mint and thyme, so I'll finish off with a spring jug of mixed tulips. Scented pink Angelique and white Mount Tacoma with red Rococo.