Urban Garden Denver Blog

Scents of the Season

As I walked up the dark steps from the driveway to the patio, I knew that the star-gazer lily had opened even though I couldn’t see it in the dark –  the scent filled the summer evening. Although I had forgotten to leave the back light on, the smell of the lily welcomed me home. I had been watching the four buds for several days, wondering when I would be treated to the exotic smell.

The fragrant lilies come on the heels of my lavender harvest. This year I decided to share the harvest with several preschool and early elementary children on our block. As I saw neighbors out playing, I invited them to come cut some lavender. With sturdy stalks, the flowers are great for the grip of a small hand, since they don’t break easily.  The flower heads can even survive a little squeeze to release their scent.

Lilies in a pot on my back patio. Notice I didn't clean up the picture my moving the dead leaves - this is a real garden.

Lilies in a pot on my back patio. Notice I didn’t clean up the picture by moving the dead leaves – this is a real garden.

The scent of lilies is unique and short-lived, while the lavender has a longer season and also dries well for more enjoyment. I put cut lavender into a dry vase to enjoy for months. I even put a few sprigs into a pair of shoes that needed freshening up.

Of course, roses are another favorite scent – I always bend down to smell a rose when I walk by – but some are definitely more fragrant than others. I only have a few roses blooming now, and the honeysuckle and peonies are but memories in my scent bank. Sweet memories that will come back next year and the next …

The sense of smell is an amazing gift – and one that I enjoy using in my garden – to delight in the wonder of fragrance. I have many flowers in my garden that are not heavily scented, but having a few focal points for my sense of smell is wonderful.