Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Of Seasons, I Am The Flower Bearing Spring

The weather is still pleasantly cool and spring like. We have had to give up most gardening, as I am not able to do any significant amount and my wife is taking the burden on too many other things. So what remains is some bulbs, some perennials, and flowering shrubs. The shrubs were planted with the primary criterion of succession of bloom, and fragrance as much as possible. A few haven’t thrived, so there are some holes in the succession of fragrance, but the blooming sequence is still working. Most of them are large enough now to thrive on their own.

After the forsythia, the spirea came in, covered with delicate white blooms that make up for their small size with abundant blossoms. Blooming before the leaves emerge, they cover the shrub like snow. Next is the olfactory high point of the year, the viburnum and the row of lilacs. My wife started the lilacs from seed, from seed stock selected for fragrance. When we moved into our current house 10 years ago, they were still like little toddlers, so we were able to move them easily. Now, they are 8-10 feet (2.5-3 meters) tall and make a solid row, filling our once primary garden space with fragrance that is heavenly. The viburnum we bought and installed once we arrived here. Many of the viburnums are showy, but blind when it comes to fragrance. We got the viburnum carlesii, which is very fragrant.

Day before yesterday I made it out and saw that the lilacs and the v. carlesii were partially open and already throwing scent. So yesterday I went out and picked a single v.carlesii flower cluster, now opened enough to cut, and put it into a cup of water next to the couch where I spend most of my time. Sometimes, you become acclimatized to a smell, and after perceiving it for a while, it fades from perception. Not the case with this v. carlesii bloom. I was smelling it all day; it was almost heady at times, and it is creeping over to me as I sit typing this out. A bloom cluster or two would scent an altar all day long. If the v. carlesii would grow in your climate, it is well worth including in any garden.


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