Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Sweet Fragrances of Autumn

Fragrances fill my life with pleasure.  Nothing brings back old memories and nostalgia to me like a smell from my childhood.  Fall is one of the best times of the year for fragrance.  Houses are filled with the aroma of pumpkin, apple, and the spices that go with them.  Yards are filled with the perfume of flowers of many types.  

One of my favorite Autumn flowers is the Butterfly Ginger (hedychium.)  This sister of the canna just isn't grown in enough places.  It thrives all over the South and is so easy that it should be in every yard.  The gardenia-like fragrance permeates a yard like nothing else. They bloom from late summer all the way till frost.  Then they come back again next year and spread even more.  Such an easy pass-along plant that you can give plenty away by the second year.

However, my absolute favorite fragrance of the fall comes from the delectable Sweet Olive (osmanthus fragrans.)  This one is dear to my heart because it was a staple in my grandmother's yard and in my mother's yard.  My memory is stoked every time I get a whiff of the distinctive aroma of this shrub.  The shrub itself is a nice evergreen plant that gets the size of a small tree.  The flowers are barely noticeable.  But from mid-fall through spring the fragrance wafts through the cool air of any yard where the shrub is planted.  I think a hedge of this plant would be a delight.  Give your own children and grandchildren another aroma to bring them good memories in the future.


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groovie mom said...

Just found your blog. I love sweet olive. One whiff and I'm a college student again making my way across the LSU quad. Just bought a new house in August and was thrilled to walk outside the other day and smell that wonderful scent. Turns out I have a sweet olive tree right outside my front door!