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?