The Alluring Scent of Lila & Muguet: Treasures Lost & Found in the Rain. . .

May 25th, 2013 § 4 comments § permalink

Muguet_Convallaria_majalis_Lily-of-the-Valley_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com  Muguet, the Fragrance of May (Convallaria majalis)

Oh, how I wish there were a way to bottle the sweet perfume of a rainy May evening. French lilac, lily-of-the-valley, Spanish and English bluebells, daphne, viburnum, violet and damp moss; the heady fragrance of springtime swirling about in dusk’s chilly air. Alas, with no way to truly preserve it, I’ve resolved to indulge in May’s beautiful aroma twenty-four hours a day, by filling every vase and vessel with freshly cut flowers.

And while out gathering lily-of-the-valley between springtime showers, I made an unanticipated, happy discovery. A favorite pair of Japanese gardening shears —presumed lost in a moment of careless distraction, last autumn— lay partially concealed amongst the muguet; camouflaged by blackened compost and umber leaf mold. Reclaimed in the nick of time, with a bit of oil and a whetstone rub, they’ll soon be no worse for wear. In this moment, I’ll delight in their rust-stained beauty; complement to the bluebell. Treasures lost and found in the rain.

Scilla_hispanica_Spanish_Bluebells_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.comSpanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica, aka Scilla hispanica) 

Syringa_vulgaris_'Mme._Lemoine_French_ Lilac_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com French White Lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘Mme. Lemoine’)

Lily-of-the-Valley_Convallaria_ majalis_and_Shears_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.comLily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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The Sweet, Seductive Power of Scent: Garden Fragrance…

May 31st, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

Lily of the Valley, (Convallaria majalis), fills my bedroom with a fresh, green scent…

“Smells  are  surer  than  sounds  and  sights  to  make  the  heartstrings  crack” ……………………………………………………………………- –………………………………………………………………………….rudyard kipling

Imagine stepping outside and into the garden on a warm spring evening. Close your eyes and breathe deep. Does the air smell sweet? Are you drawn down a winding path, lined by flickering shadows; lured deeper by the faintest whiff of perfume? What is that elusive fragrance drifting this way and that? White lilac? Fresh lily-of-the-valley? The lingering scent of a first rose?

Our sense of smell is powerful -directly linked to memory and emotion- and as gardeners, fragrance is one of our most seductive design tools. Delicately sweet mockorange beside the screen porch, spicy viburnum outside the bedroom window, and lavender edging the dining terrace; when fragrant plants are placed near doors and windows, they have a way of luring us outside. And have you noticed how roses, warmed by the afternoon sun, can literally stop you in your tracks, even on the busiest of days? I pay attention to smell when I am designing gardens and shopping for plants -even when they aren’t blooming- never underestimating the olfactory power of foliage. Herbs, such as rosemary and mint for example, as well as many deciduous shrubs and evergreens, add delightful fragrance to the air when brushed or stirred. When I’m out weeding in my front garden, the thyme planted between the stones in my walkway releases a delicious lemony scent, rewarding me each time I haul away a basket of debris.

The months of May and June seem particularly heady, filled with some of the most beautiful and nostalgic garden fragrances. I have collected a few of my springtime favorites, and I’d love to hear about yours…

Folded promise of potent fragrance to come – Rosa rugosa in bud…

Spicy and sweet, this favorite combination makes Rosa de Rescht a much anticipated flower in my garden…

David Austin English Rose, Rosa ‘Bibi Maizoon’ -a voluptuous beauty beyond compare- possesses the kind of old-fashioned fragrance I covet and fuss over every year…

Wild woodland phlox, (Phlox divaricata ‘Clouds of Perfume’ )- this free seeding beauty lures me straight down the garden path in the still of early morning, filling the air with it’s delicate, powdery fragrance..

Fragrant abelia, (Abelia mosanensis), blooms late May through early June, and you have to smell it to believe it. I’d tape a bunch to my nose if I could get away with it…

Abelia mosanensis, sweetly fragrant with a touch of spicy clove

Fragrant tree peony, (Paeonia moutan x lutea, an  American hybrid (1952),  ‘High Noon’ )- Peonies of all kinds bring beautiful fragrance to the garden, and tree peonies possess some of the more exotic scents…

Tazetta-type daffodils are some of the most fragrant springtime bulbs…

Fragrant Star Azalea, (Deciduous Rhododendron atlanticum x canescens ‘Fragrant Star’), fills the air with a gorgeous, musky and exotic scent, and she possesses a beautiful form to match her perfume…

Rhododendron prinophyllum, our intensely fragrant native roseshell azalea, has a decidedly clove-like scent…

Powerfully fragrant, double white lilac, (Syringa vulgaris ‘Mme. Lemoine’), is the only white lilac for me…

Korean spicebush, (Viburnum carlesii), and many other viburnum are prized for their uniquely spicy, highly alluring fragrance…

One tiny sprig of variegated daphne,(Daphne x burkwoodi ‘Carol Mackie’),  floating in a shallow bowl is enough to scent an entire room…

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Article and photographs © 2010 Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

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