I have a friend who is preparing to open a business, and he wants people entering the courtyard to be treated to aromatic plants. So, he asked me for a few ideas, but with the caveat that their scents not be overwhelming.

That's why the list I came up with did not include night-blooming jasmine, gardenias or star jasmine - all three throw great fragrances, but they can be overpowering at times.

Probably the most wonderfully aromatic plant is the Texas Mountain Laurel. Its amazing clustered purple blooms smell like grape Kool-Aid, but for barely one month in the whole year - so it didn't make the cut, either. All the plants on my short list of recommended plants are pleasantly fragrant for reasonable periods. Here are the top five:

Sweet Almond Verbena - This will always be my personal favorite. Its aroma is absolutely one of the most pleasing to the senses. It's described several ways, but for me it's definitely a sweet but not over-powering aroma of almonds. Some have also defined the scent as a mix of lavender and grape soda. It will bloom eight months of the year.

Santolina - This tough guy looks like it belongs in a typical low-maintenance Texas garden such one focused on Xeriscaping (having scant water resources). It has rosemary-like foliage topped with yellow flowers, but it's the foliage that has the great scent. It's been described as a combination of herbs and lavender.

Heirloom Roses/Antique Roses/Earth Kind Roses - Some of my favorites for their distinctive aromas are Belinda's Dream, Mrs. Dudley Cross, and Georgetown Tea. Their aromas are all hard to describe, but they are all definitely "rose-smelling."

Mexican Mint Marigold - I fell in love with this plant years ago at a resort near Bastrop. Despite the name, I don't think it smells at all minty. Instead, I perceive this Texas native's year-round foliage as having a great licorice smell. I think it's become a standard plant at Texas Hill Country resorts precisely because of its wonderful aroma. And it has great yellow blooms seven to 10 months of the year.

Herbs, Herbs, Herbs - Herbs work well in aromatic gardens since they can succeed in both containers and landscape beds. This includes Rosemary, basil, oregano, fennel, Georgia savory and definitely all mints. For my friend's business, it will be perfect for shadier areas.

I also suggested my friend look into ...

Agastache - Often known as licorice mint, it may be the best match of name and smell. When the leaves are brushed against or crushed, you'll catch its distinctive smell. It's correctly pronounced ag-ah-STACK-e. You'll sometimes hear it called Ag-uh-STASH, but botanically speaking that would be incorrect.

Banana Shrub - There's no mixing up the name with the fragrance of this plant. It is what it says it is. While the foliage, from a distance, can be misjudged as a typical evergreen plant, when it blooms for a few months each year the distinctly ripe banana fragrance is a real people-pleaser. This plant can also be called a Michelia figo at some garden centers.

Mandy Star Jasmine - This is really nothing like regular star jasmine with its often overpowering gardenia-like smell. The Mandy has a light vanilla scent, which can mix with almost any other aromatic planting you can think of. If you are interested in it, you absolutely have to incorporate a lattice board or mini arbor of some kind, because it wants to climb and doesn't like to cascade out of a pot.

Crinum Lilies - While there are dozens of crinum lilies available, almost every one can be considered a great "scent gardening" standard. But there's a catch: you have to develop them from bulbs, and they aren't available year-round. So, when Texas bulb-planting season arrives in October, be prepared to be on the lookout for all-things crinum.

Spanish Lavender - This is nothing like old world English lavender. We can grow this type of lavender with a great fragrance, but it's moderately different from lavenders you might encounter at spas and resorts.