[Photo my own]
I'd read that carnations used to have scent -- a very good scent, in fact -- but until the other day when I came across an exotic-looking bunch, I had never experienced this for myself.
[Video screengrabs via Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden]
The flowers I found were spicy but not cloying and made me wonder, in general, what gardens smelled like centuries ago.
Wild and semi-wild gardens are what I personally gravitate to, but there is a charmingly structured and recently restored Elizabethan garden at Kenilworth Castle famous for its use of scent. The castle itself has essentially remained in a state of wonderfully romantic ruin since the 17th century. Before then, though, in 1563, Elizabeth I gave the place to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (aka the Joseph Fiennes character in the visually stunning 1998 movie, Elizabeth). Although not addressed in the film, the castle and surrounding gardens seem to have ultimately been a significant part of their relationship.
You can get a good overview of the grounds, including the Aviary, here, but this BBC program also includes an up close glimpse of the garden that will make you wish Cate Blanchett could've visited it in the 90s movie. If the time frame of the plot had been a bit different, that is. Apparently more than half a dozen historic castles were used throughout filming, but oh what the production team could have also done with Kenilworth...