Sweet Smell of Summer

Spending  a lot of weekends with my mother at the plant market hunting for new plants for our garden is a great memory.  She loved fragrant flowers so the main question we always asked was “Is it fragrant?”  I still do the same here at the local farmer’s markets, nurseries and when my fingers walk through catalogs looking for new additions to our collection, the first thing I look for in a flower is fragrance.

In summer our garden has the sweet scent of one flower or another floating in the air all day and all night.  The sweetness of the Bitter Melon flower would linger in the air until noon when the sun gets too hot and the flowers start to close up.  We have Garden Phlox, Phlox Paniculata, in variety of colors which continue perfuming the air day and night until they fade away slowly.

Hover Fly inspects Garden Phlox

Summersweet, Clethra Alnifolia, in both white and pink fill the garden with their intoxicating sweet scent. And, who can forget the arcing branches and oblong pompoms of clustered, tiny flowers at the end of the Butterfly Bush, Buddleia, and its scent. Whoever named this plant “Butterfly Bush” hit the spot.  We have a few of them in our garden and they are drawing all types of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.  Its only bad charactor is that it self-sow like crazy.  I either have to cut the spent flowers or take time to pull the seedlings from the garden.

Ailanthus Webworm Moth sips nectar from Summer Sweet

The ground hugging Sweet Alyssum, Lobularia Maritima, in both white and lavender also contribute their scent.  Don’t under estimate their tiny little flowers.   Tiny tough guys, they can deal with drought and foot traffic really well.  They sow themselves along the driveway neatly in rows as well as in any cracks in our walkway.  We let them be, let them send sweet honey fragrance into the air.

Little tough guys, Sweet Alyssum

The roses and Echinacea also do a great job of soothing us during the day.  I’m not going to mention the tropical flowers otherwise this topic won’t end.

Once the sun goes down, the graceful Moonflowers, Ipomoea Alba, start to unfurl themselves and fill the night with their scent.  This year we have to wait a little bit longer for the flowers to bloom since the weather has had mood swings early in the season.  The vine slows growth until the temperature gets and stays hot.  We’re seeing flower buds now though.

Swallowtail on Butterfly Bush

When we come home in the evening during the weekday, the first thing we do is take a deep breath in the garden.  The sweet mingling from Jasmine, Moonflowers and Garden Phlox washes away the dust and fog of a long workday and commute home.  We are ready for a glass of wine and a good night’s sleep.  We don’t call our garden our sanctuary for nothing.