Aromatherapy: The Wonder of Nature’s Perfume

TulipFestAfter a long, cold winter, I can hardly complain about the heat and humidity of the last few days. It seems hard to believe that only a few days ago, I was covering my sensitive annuals with hay due to a frost advisory.

IMG_9627Nevertheless, my perennial bulbs are loving this heat spell and I am taking full advantage of the abundance of blooms to bring indoors.

If you have followed my blog over the years, you know my favorite flowers are Lilacs. These are my Miss Kim Lilacs-which bloom 2 weeks later than the standard ones- so my Lilac season lasts much longer than one would think possible. Putting my nose into the florets is “heavenly bliss”. I have no other way to describe the delightful aromas that put me into a state of ecstasy.LilacBliss

Then my Iris start opening- both single and double bearded varieties. The single ones have a sugary powdered scent that satisfies my cravings, while the doubles have a darker, richer fragrance that doesn’t let me go.HeavenlyIris

This year at almost the same time, the Peonies began opening. They have a completely different aura. Sweet, but more sophisticated, with layers of roses infiltrated into them- wild, climbing, tea- all varieties are collected into one breed.Peony9698

I spent Memorial Day weekend catching up on yardwork, with many hours spent outside. By  the time I returned to work on Tuesday I wasn’t sure I could take even a half day indoors. I decided to bring a bouquet of flowers to the office. I collected Peonies, Iris and Lilacs and set them up in my 150 sq. ft office that I share with my partner.

20150526_211216

We enjoyed the sweet wafts of scent that the breezes from  our open window spread around the room. However, the real aromatherapy was noticed when our colleagues came bursting in the door- frantically asking us questions- and then paused, mid-sentence- to notice how wonderful our flowers smelled. By the time they were done taking in and appreciating the beautiful display, they had forgotten the urgency of their visit and we were able to conduct business in a much more agreeable way.

Too bad I don’t know of any season that yields more fragrant flowers than the month of May. As the days get hotter, the fragrances are only noticeable to the birds and the bees. As beautiful as Sunflowers, Phlox, poppies and Gladiolus are, they really don’t have the same scent appeal. May is the season for Aromatherapy.IMG_9645

Advertisements

Spring has Leapt into Action

Today is officially the first day of Spring. It seems hard to believe, given the fact that we have record-breaking warmth in the northeast. The progress of my garden is way ahead of schedule. I have been wearing shorts and t-shirts outside lately, which is normally something only high school students do in March.  I spent the weekend raking off my flower beds. 

Typically I would have waited until April, but when the plants are growing at such speedy rates, it is best to keep up with them. 

The Ides of March is when a big winter storm usually hits this area, but our evening lows have been warmer than our average highs and no storms have been on the radar for days. I surfed the web for a last possible ski run but everything seems to be shutting down for the season- the winter that wasn’t. It was bad news for all the ski resorts, hotels, restaurants and businesses that rely on snow for their livelihood. However, as much as I  try to embrace winter activities, I am ready to turn in my skis for my gardening gloves.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we should not sow annuals until mid- May. My green thumb is itching to get started, though.  I was so excited when I saw these beautiful pansies for $.99/each, that I immediately grabbed some for the deck.    I don’t care if they freeze; I am in the mood for flowers!

At the risk of jumping in before frosty evenings are officially past, my husband grabbed some seed packets for hardy greens: lettuces, spinach, parsley, bok choy and arugula.  

We have a protective cold frame where he plans to start things early. If we have a setback, who cares? The excitement of getting an early crop of Spring salad far outweighs the hassle of starting over.

We uncovered our deck furniture, which had been sitting under a tarp all winter. Since our unofficial snowfall for the season was about a foot, it turns out it wasn’t really necessary.  We set up the volleyball net and practiced our bumping and setting skills in anticipation of some family games. 

Later my husband put away the snowblower, which never got used this year, and tuned up the lawnmower. The grass is already turning bright green and will probably require mowing soon.

In celebration of his birthday, my husband bought a Weber grill. On Saturday he initiated it with our first barbecue of the season. He smoked ribs and sausages slow cooker style, which meant we could smell the tantalizing aromas all afternoon while we worked in the yard.  

Later that afternoon, we had friends over for a drink and he got to show off his shiny new gadget.

I spotted the first crocus of the season on Sunday and today my daffodils have begun to bloom!  

My forsythia has rebloomed despite its confusion in December and the leaves on my bushes are starting to pop out.

When I was walking the dogs, we passed a swampy area where the Spring Peepers were loudly chirping away. I usually don’t hear them until April, but they were already forming a raucous chorus to greet the season. Spring has not just sprung; it has leapt into action!

When I taught preschool, we usually spent the month of March comparing “Lion” and “Lamb”days. According to the proverb, nice weather is like a gentle lamb and indicates spring is coming. Stormy weather is like a lion and is winter’s way of saying it will not go away yet. If I were counting days with my class this month, I think we would be hard pressed to find one we could call a lion. With 11 days to go, I hope we don’t see him make a big comeback at the end.

Plants wrapped in 6 mm (0.2 in) of ice. Severe...

Plants wrapped in 6 mm (0.2 in) of ice. Severe ice storms, which may occur in the spring, can kill plant life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)