When I was five my parents took me to New York City for the flower show. I remember only two things from that trip, a redwood brought in for one of the landscape displays and my very first flower purchase. That redwood was awe inspiring but what little girl could resist the pull of a tiny flower that looks like a purple teddy bear? The argeratum, a low growing annual with tiny, fuzzy purple flowers, no longer fits my grown up tastes but thinking of them always makes me smile. However, some of my other early favorites have a secure place in my garden. The first of these old friends is not only purple but smells like grape candy. In fact, I’ve been inspired to write this post because they are in bloom now, the grape hyacinth. I can’t resist lying down on my belly and breathing them in!
Another grape-scented beauty I still love is a deep purple bearded iris. The unusual shape, again the fuzzy patch, the beard, on the falls was exciting to me. But that sweet grape scent was its greatest draw. These old-fashioned bearded irises are hard to find. Anyone who has one of these in their garden….I’d love to discuss a trade!
Others whose scent intoxicated my young brain were the lilac and lily of the valley. These both bloomed on my birthday. Since I have moved farther north I have to wait a month longer to enjoy them. The sense of smell plays an important role in the physiological effects of mood. Scents take a direct route to the amygdala and the hippocampus, the regions of the brain related to emotion and memory. No wonder these fragrant beauties have cemented themselves in my mind.