I didn’t really plan for it, but this spring is fragrance heaven in my garden.
The essential oils released by the blossoming plants in spring are great natural aromatherapy, with scents that are warm, sweet and a bit citrusy, all fragrances associated in therapeutic circles with calming, uplifting and anti-depressant effects on the human spirit. No wonder we feel happy when spring arrives!
Somehow, the perfume counter at Sephora just doesn’t have much appeal right now. All those musky scents smell too much like chemical factories in comparison with what nature is providing. While the natural odors are very sweet, experiencing their aroma is short-lived. The pleasure in their fragrance comes from comparison – walking into and out of their aromatic clouds by strolling around the yard.
And there’s more delight in remembering other springs and similar smells in other locations, other gardens.
There’s a memory of daffodils in Lancaster, and my grandmother’s favorite lilacs in the Pennsylvania mountains. While there are no lilacs in the alkaline soil here, other sweet smells help remembrances connect.
The plants in my yard were deliberately included to trigger recollections of friends and family, to bring joy, relaxation and easing of stress.
It started with the light, almost invisible wisps of scent from the small acacia in the backyard. Usually this light scent heralds the next bloomers – narcissus and agarito. But the warm weather this year switched the order of events. Like thunder, next on the scene were the Texas mountain laurels, creating booming grape-scented clouds to catch my attention.
The agaritos slipped in for a short cycle of sweetness, and as these began to fade, the huisache tree’s golden blossoms puffed up. This acacia’s blooming cycle is sometimes caught by a late frost, and this spring’s warmth was a delight for the tree. It’s bloomed for almost a month, at the same time as the late narcissus.
The huisache branches droop, and standing beneath is like being in a huge, ochre, citrus-scented umbrella.
And the fragrant spring just goes on and on – bluebonnets, then the chinaberry tree. I know it’s a weedy tree that competes with natives, but that marvelous odor slides up to me on the screen porch where I’m enjoying the breeze has kept me from cutting it down. And now the bearded iris and the Anacacho orchid tree catch my attention with blooms like butterflies calling me closer to enjoy their lighter scent.
I know that sharper odors are waiting their turn. Salvias, rosemary, basil, damianita, even tomato release scents from their leaves with hot weather. And these plants have been specifically included, too, to remind me of the past – and to build new memories of this place, this garden here and now.
But spring is the time to remember to design for fragrance in your garden if it’s been an after-thought till now.
What’s blooming and scenting the air in yours to remind you of different circumstances and keep those brain neurons firing strong?
Two previous post about fragrance in the garden:
Celebrating the prickly agarito
Three ways to let fragrance go to your head in your spring Elderyard