Sunday, January 9, 2011

Now It Makes 'Scents!'

Crinum Lily
Today, I was reminded that long forgotten scents can and do evoke powerful memories. While walking I detected the sweet and pleasantly, pungent smell of warm hay and horses. Curiosity piqued, I took deeper breaths and remembered my horse orientated childhood, then I turned the corner and saw a horse happily grazing in a front yard. 
Walking home I reflected on the memory trigger. Do garden lovers unconsciously choose scented trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials in their yards that might not have the identical odor, but come pretty close to that linked to a pleasant memory?

7 years ago I was given a Crinum Lily which we planted and forgot. One day I could smell something amazing in the yard and re-discovered the thriving Crinum with a towering and magnificent, pink colored flower. Its delicious combo-aroma of honeysuckle, rain and pears transported me back 35 years across the Atlantic Ocean to an urban garden with a mature, rambling honeysuckle. The Crinum was promptly replanted closer to the house and we have had many ‘pups’ from that one plant. After a good rainfall, the flower stem almost appears overnight and its scent is both sweetest and strongest at night, which might suggest it attracts bats and moths. 
For a long time resident of Florida, the ultimate aroma-induced happiness moment has to be the heady-sweetness of orange blossoms. For me the scent of those white, waxy blooms wafting from our tree, conjures up earlier years of summer vacations. Back then we travelled north on I95 with our young boys and past the miles of acres of orange groves in Martin County. And, although I have not seen a bluebell patch in 25 years, in a quiet reflective moment I can still recall the heady and deeply soothing aroma of those residents of England’s deeply shaded, and damp woodland glades. I am not likely to find a bluebell patch in sub-tropical Florida anytime soon but I’ll keep my nose to the ground and hold out for a scentsational-double that can hold its own in my garden of aromatic memories. Having said that I can assure you I won't be getting a horse anytime soon, they are just too expensive to feed!


  1. I'm "smelling" the Lilacs now! Yes, I agree that scents evoke memories. Thanks for the pleasant thoughts on a cold, northern wintry evening!

  2. Thank you! Hoping your northern climes warm up soon.

  3. I have two crinum lily plants in the back garden and is always a treat when they bloom

  4. The 'scents' are an important part of gardening to me too. Aromatherapy at its best. Nice blog.

  5. Hey Dawn...I really do believe that scents from your childhood can transport you back to those days. Orange blossoms are that trigger for me. When I smell them I remember standing in our backyard at evening time taking deep breaths of the wonderfully scented air. That's a memory I'll never forget.


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