Garden Fragrance

Syringa vulgaris 'Wedgewood Blue' June 2009
Syringa vulgaris 'Wedgewood Blue' (lilac) June 2009

The lilac and lily of the valley are providing the sweetest scents in the garden this week. This is Syringa vulgaris ‘Wedgewood Blue’, a pretty bluish lavender colour. The buds which haven’t opened yet are the darker purple colour. The lilac fragrance is divine. There is a swirl of perfume that draws me to the flowers. It’s such a delight to wander over to this side of the garden and sniff these beautiful blooms. This is a shorter growing lilac, about 2 m (6 feet), so the blooms are at nose height.

This area around the lilac was a little sunnier a few years ago. I’m thinking of removing one or two maple branches that have grown to shade this area, to let a little more light in here. There aren’t as many flowers on this sun lover, and I’d love to have more of these sweetly scented blooms. You can read more about and view pictures of Syringa vulgaris ‘Wedgewood Blue’ in this followup post.

If you’re viewing on a smaller monitor, you’ll have to click to enlarge the photos, as the picture overflow doesn’t show.

Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley) June 2009
Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley) June 2009

This Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley) is another of my favourite perfumes in the garden. A large patch of them create a drift of scent around the garden. Since I have a number of groups, the fragrance is never far away right now. When I close my eyes and inhale, it brings back wonderful memories. It’s such a powerful effect, for such a little flower.

When the most perfumed plants start to bloom, I am reminded of how a garden is experienced with so many senses. Viewing the lovely flowers and leaf textures, touching a fuzzy leaf or a soft petal, hearing the rustle of the willow branches, feeling a light breeze on your skin, smelling the fragrant memories, all create an uplifting experience, a warm envelope of peacefulness.

16 thoughts on “Garden Fragrance”

    1. Jackie, thanks. I’m really enjoying strolling around the garden this week, even bending over to pick a weed has its own reward, when it’s next to the lily of the valley.

      Marnie, I originally planted the lilac near a window, so that scent would drift into the house as well, but there aren’t quite enough blooms for that. I love to sniff the peonies up close. When they open, I have to visit them a few times a day.

      Bangchik, thank you. The scent of lily of the valley is mixed together with warm family memories for me, so they create a strong emotional response to the scent. The little bells are quite sweet, and I liked the way the leaf striations showed in the shot, when backlit.

  1. We went thru the brief but wonderful lilac season the first part of May. There are only three plants that can perfume an entire yard, lilacs, Japanes tree lilacs and sweet autumn clematis. My peonies are blooming now and they smell wonderful but the scent doesn’t drift on the breeze like lilac.

    I agree, the garden over loads the senses. A very pleasant experience.


  2. They really are beautiful flowers especially lily of the valley. They are nicely framed and snapped. How the flowers look elegant bathed in low sunlight…. I am thinking how best can we describe fragrance… hmmm…

    Happy Gardening,
    ~ bangchik

  3. I love Lilac and Lily of the Valley always makes me think of my Mum. I can smell them just tinking about it or perhaps it’s the roses and honeysuckle on the table behind me.

    1. Joanne, strong scents can be a powerful memory trigger. Your room must smell wonderful with the roses and honeysuckle.

      Anna, both the lilac and lily of the valley are at their peak now. The peonies haven’t started their buds yet, but they are another favourite of mine for scent. The carnations will be a while too.

  4. I have not got any lilac in the garden yet but I have a big patch of lily of the valley which was at its best in May. Scent comes high on my list of priorities :)

    1. Helen, the lily of the valley do like to spread. I find them fairly easy to remove though. When they produce those white bells, and scent the garden, I tend to forgive them their spreading habit.

      Irena, sometimes I make mini bouquets out of the lily of the valley blooms, but this year I’ve just been enjoying them in the garden. Lilacs make such exuberant bouquets, with their large flower heads.

  5. two of my favourite garden scents! absolutely unforgettable fragrance. lilac season is over in my garden. I dead-headed my “Ludwig Spaeth” this afternoon : ( Enjoy your sweet scents.

  6. These plants are some of my favorites, I also love their fragrance. For that reason I planted a few lilacs here, most scented of all is dwarf Korean Lilac Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ It produces masses of flowers in May-June and also in August-September and I can highly recommend ( for zone 3 to 7 )
    Rose scented regards from my German garden

    1. Sisah, Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ sounds fantastic for its blooms, and strong scent. I will have to check it out. I’ve been walking around the garden a few times a day just to sniff the flowers.

  7. The fragrance from our white Syringa ‘Mme Lemonie’ is almost gone now but it has been lovely this late Spring.
    Your lavenderblue looks wonderful.

    1. Birgitta, coming home today I drove by a group of three lilacs. There was a dark purple behind, with two smaller light lavender and white lilacs in front. The group looked fantastic together.

  8. My whole neighbourhood smells of lilac right now. We stood outside our front door this evening and just breathed deeply. Scent is certainly evocative of summers past.

    My little son points at the lilacs in excitement and exclaims, “purple flowers!” every time he sees a bush. (I love it!)

    1. The Garden Ms. S, that’s one of the benefits of an established neighbourhood. The mature trees and shrubs, like lilacs, can be enjoyed by everyone. They create a wonderful atmosphere for the area.

      When your son grows up, he’ll remember the cozy family time when he smells the lilacs.

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