More Signs of Spring

Blooms of lily of the valley or muguet

The first lily of the valley blooms have emerged in my garden, in the last days of March. I love lilies of the valley but they can be hard to grow here in Zone 7, so I’m delighted that these have decided to return. They emit one of my favorite fragrances, the inimitable “muguet“.  Do you grow lilies of the valley? When do they emerge in your garden?

Ghost Gardens

Gardens at Chatsworth revealed by drought; image by OLIVER JESSOP/CHATSWORTH HOUSE.

This past summer’s drought in the British Isles and Ireland have revealed many subterranean secrets, from ancient prehistoric sites to hidden garden structures and outlines. Here is a wonderful article about one such revelation: How a Heat Wave Revealed the Outlines of a Hidden Garden and Ghost Village.  I have never visited Chatsworth, although it is on my list to see, especially as it hosts one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s famous flower shows, the “RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.”

I did visit England this past May, and attend the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, before the summer of drought. On a later summer visit to Ireland, in August, the gardeners at Powerscourt were bemoaning the drought and its effect on their beautiful gardens. I must say, the gardens were still spectacular and I can’t wait to visit them again!

Wildflower perfumes in spring

A nice introduction to some scented plants in a different part of the US than where I live. Beautiful illustrations, too!

my90acres

Spring in southern Indiana is a cacophony of overload for the senses.  As an artist, I’m naturally attracted to the visual of the changing season.  From the pale greens of new shoots and leaves to the endless variety of flowers.  Something new is blooming every week.  And sounds add to the wallpaper of the experience as I presented the cheerful house wren in a recent post.

One thing that I haven’t touched on are the beautiful scents that waft through the air.  Yes, there are plenty of floral perfumes from cultivated plants, but today I want to show you three wildflowers with really strong scents.

Multi-flora roses, watercolor, pen and ink, Kit Miracle

The first is the multi flora rose.  First introduced from Asia as a soil erosion remedy, it quickly got out of hand and is truly a noxious weed.  So difficult to get rid of.  However, for a…

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‘The Generous Gardener’ rose is one of my favourites. It requires some discipline not to list its selling points, even after so many years, but I’ll confine myself to observing that it is one of the more fragrant English roses, best grown as a short climber against a wall or sturdy pillar. That hardly counts, […]

via ‘The Generous Gardener’ Rose (Plus A Riff On Leaves) — Susan Rushton

I love David Austin roses, I love Susan Rushton’s photographs, and I love this rose, Generous Gardener, in particular! Enjoy Susan’s post — I am reminded that my own roses are in need of some TLC this Labor Day weekend, so I’ll sign off again.

Fragrance Friday: First Cut

Another review of another St. Clair Scents fragrance that will appeal to gardeners!

Serenity Now

Diane St. Clair is a dairy farmer and artisan maker of butter so good that she supplies it to the legendary French Laundry restaurant, among others. She is also now an artisan perfumer, having launched her first three scents earlier this year under the name St. Clair Scents. I’ve already written about Gardener’s Glove; today, I’ll take a look (or sniff!) at First Cut.

The name refers to the first mowing of a hayfield, in late summer. This is an important time at a dairy farm, as the mown hay will provide fodder for the cows during the winter. Here is the description of First Cut from St. Clair Scents’ website:

The hay harvest is the focus of every dairy farmer’s summer, keeping the fields regenerating and providing hay for the cows in winter.

The mowing and drying of native grasses, clovers, wild flowers, and legumes takes…

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Gardener’s Glove

I’ve just discovered a fragrance that is perfect for any gardener! It is called Gardener’s Glove and it is made by an artisanal dairy farmer called Diane St. Clair, who makes some of the finest butter in the world at her farm in Vermont. If you’re not already charmed by now, I don’t know what to tell you. Her fragrance company is called St. Clair Scents.

Gardeners Glove St Clair Scents

Here is my review over at Serenity Now: Fragrance Friday: St. Clair Scents’ Gardener’s Glove. Enjoy! What scents remind you of childhood gardens?

vegetable-garden-illustration

 

Rethinking “Pretty”

Wildflower planting with native cosmos by Georgia highway

Blogger Allen Bush has just published a fascinating exchange (“Time to ‘Rethink Pretty’ in the Garden”) he had with Benjamin Vogt, prairie garden designer, activist, and author of the book “A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future.” That book is now on my reading list!

I have been shrinking the size of my already small front and back lawns steadily over the years, although I’ve been doing that by expanding traditional flowerbeds, adding wildflowers, and creating small groves of understory trees that include native dogwoods. I do still love and plant non-natives, but I try also to plant consciously to attract and support birds, pollinators, butterflies. I inherited a garden full of old, well-established azaleas and have left them, but have started underplanting them with plants like pink evening primrose and native ferns, and adding native azaleas to their numbers. I am fortunate in that I live in an historic neighborhood where every house and garden looks different, and creative gardens are prized. I can think of more than one home where Benjamin’s prairie garden would fit right in!

I live in a Southeastern state that is not particularly progressive, but one thing it does very well is to use roadside plantings to cultivate meadow-like swathes of native wildflowers. I appreciate both the beauty and the effort.