Heaven scent

The Rose Garden is in peak June-bloom.The air smells so pervasively sweet right now that it’s almost hard to identify which plants are producing all the fragrance. I have now stuck my nose in so many flowers, it’s probably a wonder I haven’t had an asthma attack or been stung by any annoyed bees.

There are a couple of easily identifiable, all encompassing scents right now – you can’t set foot or nostril in Rhode Island right now without catching a powerful whiff of roses. Rosa 'Belle Story'Rosa multiflora – an invasive plague – smells almost as wildly spiced as the slightly less aggressive beach rose (Rosa rugosa). Beach rose is  my favorite scent in the whole world especially when combined with a sea-salty breeze. So I’m in heaven right now. The fancier roses in the Rose Garden all have distinctly different scents – some almost cloyingly perfumed and some exactly like apricots. And I’m still trying to identify the tropical fruit I ate as a kid that peonies smell just like the taste of…

Rosa 'Livin Easy'the peony row in the Display Garden

Cladrastis kentuckea 'Sweet Shade'And around the property there are all sorts of  fragrances both heavenly and heavy. I’ve never before noticed the Kentucky yellowwood (Cladrastis kentuckea ‘Sweet Shade’) in bloom – maybe because I am tethered to the gardens in June. But it smells pleasantly almond-y sweet to Lilah and me. The climbing hydrangea on the other hand is a little more intense. We think that one is close to “over-ripe pineapple”. I’d rather have the yellowwood in my garden – if only I could fit it in. It’s a smallish tree – 30-50′ at maturity – but it branches low and can be nearly as wide as it is tall. (I’m thinking about knocking down the garage…)

Lilah and the Kentucky yellowwood Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris) -  up close

What is heaven scent in your garden right now?

4 thoughts on “Heaven scent

  1. Ahhh, the sweet scent of June is in the air all right. Here it is the Styrax ‘Pink Chimes’, the peonies and the one David Austin which is floppy but carrying quite a few blooms this year. Why don’t I have a Kentucky Coffee Tree? Hmmmm…..

    Layanee, I might like the styrax’s perfume even more than the yellowwood… But the yellowwood is native – a point in its favor. You definitely have room for one! -kris

  2. We have some huge Privet Shrubs 20′ x 12′ that are really fragrant right now. Privet actually turns into a nice graceful shrub if not hacked down every time it throws a new shoot out. Also the Peony garden is finishing up but still perfuming the air a bit.

    DF, I know there are people in the world who don’t love the smell of privet but it’s one of my favorites. Too bad it’s invasive. Ours haven’t quite gotten going here yet… -kris

  3. I agree, Beach Roses and salty breezes-definitely the best fragrance ever! Drift in wild honeysuckle and ” WOW”!!

    Jean, you’re absolutely right – the honeysuckle completes the picture of scent perfection. Seems like it’s blooming gangbusters this year too! -kris

  4. The last of the honeysuckle smells wonderful, a bit of PPPP (Phlox pilosa) and the Oakleaf Hydrangeas. I would love more fragrance, but most is obscured by OFF bug repellant on my shirt and pants! gail

    ugh. OFF is one of my least favorite scents. I once found a repellent that smelled like geranium. But it was less repulsive to the mosquitoes too. -kris

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