Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fragrance in the Garden, Another Ruling Passion

Lilies!!!!  Oh, I'm so, so glad that the lightening bolt hit and I finally realized that I CAN have lilies in my garden!  For several years after I moved to this house, there was a lily that would sprout and bud each year, only to have the buds be eaten by deer.  The previous owners had a dog, who would keep the deer at bay, I suppose.  But I have no dog, and therefore, I figured, could have no lilies.  I never even found out what color that lily was before it eventually gave up the ghost.  I never planted any others, of course.  Who sows heartbreak in their garden on purpose? 

Then I talked to my green-thumbed hairdresser who casually mentioned the dozens of lilies she has growing in pots.  In pots!  That was the lightening bolt.  Last spring I ordered some Casa Blanca lilies and put them in a big pot on my deck where the deer can't reach them, as an experiment.  It worked!  Now it's their second summer and they are blooming again.  Next year maybe I'll even get more.  In fact, I probably need to divide these up into two or more pots because they are significantly more floppy this year than last year.

I think lilies are beautiful but the main reason I don't want to live without them any longer is their fragrance.  Fragrance is one of my true garden pleasures, very high up on my lists from the Ruling Passion Exercise from Rand Lee's Pleasures of the Cottage Garden, which I wrote about in an earlier post.  Lilies are more strongly fragrant than anything else in my garden.  I had noticed buds on the lilies in the morning before they first bloomed, but it was the fragrance that alerted me that they were beginning to open.  Incredibly, the fragrance of this year's first lily wafted out into the garden when the flower was only open about this much:

This is a good month for strongly fragrant flowers in the garden.  The butterfly bush has been especially floriferous this year and my husband even commented about its fragrance.  I have it planted just next to a path that I travel all the time to get to the shed and compost pile and the fragrance is strong enough to catch your attention without you having to stop and sniff.
The butterfly bush is probably past its peak, but still blooming.  Just coming into their peak, however, are the four o'clocks.  I let four o'clocks self sow and consequently have a big enough drift of them to waft their fragrance into the evening air.  I have two kinds, a very tall off-white which is not blooming yet, and the multicolored "Miracle of Peru" which can have majenta, white, or yellow blooms as well as striped, zoned or spotted blooms of multiple colors.
I would love to have fragrant flowers in bloom all the time.  I have many flowers that are fragrant if you get close and sniff, but not so many like these whose fragrance drifts afar.  Both are a pleasure in the garden, but the flowers that meet you more than halfway, wafting their fragrance over passersby, are a special joy in the garden.