“I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer — and what trees and seasons smelled like — how people looked and walked and smelled even. The memory of odors is very rich.”
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden
As a child, I couldn’t wait for summer vacation. I would race home, change into my shorts and out of my school clothes to play for 10 weeks. And play we did. Never knowing time of day until the street lights came on. And not knowing the date until the school supplies had to be bought. Then I knew summer would soon be over.
But I never really watched the sunrise or set. I never knew about the start of summer on the solstice. These were foreign to me and uninteresting until middle age. When I began to garden and pay attention to the seasons, then I marked this sacred day. The longest day of the year is special as the sun shines longer and higher. And I bask in it now. Letting the warmth seep into every pore.
And as a veggie gardener, summer has even more meaning as we need the hot temps to grow so many veggies…so many are my favorites like tomatoes, peppers and squashes….not to mention okra and eggplant.
Many ancient civilizations have celebrated the summer solstice ringing in a joyful time….one of luck and abundance. The solstice is a perfect time to be outside (weather permitting) watching the sun reach its zenith at noon. For me the solstice will be a time of reflecting on what I am renewing, changing and celebrating. Like a seed just planted this spring, I will be growing through the warmth of the summer ready to harvest whatever grows in the autumn.
“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.” ~Patrick Süskind
One of my favorite memories of summer are the smells….they evoke some of my strongest and most vivid summer memories.
“For many people the scent of certain plants can revive memories with a vividness that nothing else can equal, for the sense of smell can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back pictures as sharp as photographs of scenes that and left the conscious mind.” ~Thalassa Cruso
These lilies remind me of summer bouquets in church on those barely cool Sunday mornings as the hymns raised up and the bees buzzed lazily.
“Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains…” ~Diane Ackerman
The scent of rain on the summer wind hanging hot in the air waiting for the rain to cool things off even for a moment.
“The gardens of my youth were fragrant gardens and it is their sweetness rather than their patterns of their furnishings that I now most clearly recall.” ~Louise Beebe Wilder
My mom planted petunias every summer. I adored their scent and colors. They bring back memories of sitting on the front porch and eating homemade popsicles.
“Scents bring memories, and many memories bring nostalgic pleasure. We would be wise to plan for this when we plant a garden.” ~Thalassa Cruso
When my parents planted their veg garden, I remember going out and tending the plants, picking the beans or pulling the carrots and smelling their sweet, earthy scent.
“My life is like the summer rose That opens to the morning sky, But ere the shades of evening close Is scattered on the ground – to die.” ~Richard Henry Wilde
My parents always grew roses. There is nothing like the scent of roses hanging in the summer air on a dewy morning.
“Of all the ingredients we employ in the creation of a garden, scent is probably the most potent and the least understood. Its effects can be either direct and immediate, drowning our senses in a surge of sugary vapor, or they can be subtle and delayed, slowly wafting into our consciousness, stirring our emotions and coloring our thoughts.” ~Stephen Lacey
Geraniums were also a staple in my mom’s pots, and I plant them just to catch the scent of the blooms and leaves.
My summer mantra:
As a teacher, I usually worked every summer. And again as a school administrator since we did not have summers off. In fact they were the busiest weeks of the year for me with little time for gardening. But I always dreamed of resting and enjoying my summer especially in my garden. So this summer in my garden, I plan to do a bit of work, relax, observe, catalogue, and just be in nature.
“I want to go soon and live away by the pond where I shall hear only the wind whispering among the reeds. It will be a success if I shall have left myself behind, but my friends ask what will I do when I get there! Will it not be employment enough to watch the progress of the seasons?”
– Henry David Thoreau, from Winter: The Writings of henry David Thoreau
So as the summer solstice approaches, join in and tell us how you celebrate your summer or summer memories? Of course in the Southern hemisphere, we want to hear about your winter celebrations.
Come Join Us:
Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time. I hope you will join in by creating a post telling us how you celebrate this time of year whether summer or winter or something else. Share your traditions, holidays and celebrations in pictures and words.
And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme. What lessons have you learned this past season of summer here in the North and winter in the South. Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.
The rules are simple. Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations. If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts. Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post. Make sure to include a link with your comment.
Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the solstice (around the 21st of June). And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog. Your post should be linked in the weekend before the solstice to give us enough time to include your post in our summary. And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page (which I still have to create). The badges here can be used in your post. So won’t you join in the celebration!!
Next up on the blog: Next Monday I will have my May Garden Review although it will be a bit shortened as I only had time to review half of May since I have been laid up.
I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. My most recent post is up already.
I can also be found blogging once a month at Vision and Verb. Next post is June 3rd.
All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014. Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.
53 Replies to “Seasonal Celebrations-Summer Scents”
When we made our first garden together my husband said “plant whatever you want as long as it has wonderful perfume”. Since then I have always tried to have as many scented plants as possible in the garden. I love the smell of lots of foliage too! Christina
I agree we should not forget the scent of foliage and I love it in summer when we can smell so much more in the warm air…your garden must be amazing to smell Christina!!
I just relished the scent of spice currant and the woodland phlox. I am trying to start a corkscrew vine – they are supposed to smell delicious. Thank you – I will celebrate the Summer Solstice this year and from now on!
How wonderful Kathy…I hope you can link in with your celebration. Let me know about the vine…I will have to look it up and give it a try.
I just LOVE that you are remembering and planning ahead for this longest day of the year, Donna, in spite of your recent surgery. Actually, this may have been the best time for your surgery since it looks like Father Sun and Mother Earth are so ready to shower you with their blessings. Enjoy it all!
Thanks so much Ginnie. My sister and brother-in-law will be in town during the solstice so the blessings are even more so!!
Growing up in southern California meant a lot of nights coming in late with grass stains on my knees and bug bites on my legs. Once I ate a caster bean in the summer and had to go to the hospital–I didn’t know! It just looked pretty. I had a Great Dane named Julius and we roamed the cliffs behind our house and hid out in caves until Mom called us for dinner. I also built tree forts and climbed trees. My Dad used to BBQ Swordfish–if was a good fish in those days–and all the neighbors would come over and bring their musical instruments and we would sing and play. I grew up playing guitar. The fragrance of geraniums was always in the air and lots of African daisies, since the weather was pretty hot. What marvelous memories I have of childhood. This summer solstice I’ll be at a woman’s retreat in Provence–that should be pretty interesting. Can’t wait to experience what the leaders have in store for us!
You had a wonderful childhood rich in memories….I can’t wait to hear about your adventures Susie…so jealous!! 🙂
Summer memories – ah, what memories your post has just touched on Donna! Where to start, like you – outdoors all summer, no matter what the weather. Not a care in the world whether it was morning, noon or evening. We would listen for our mothers calling us at meal times but to be honest, meals were furthest from our minds. There was a garden full to bursting with fruits of all kinds and the elderly couple that owned it were more than generous and all the neighbourhood kids were allowed to squeeze through the gap in their fence that adjoined our play park to help themselves. We only helped ourselves to the Rhubarb if one of us managed to run home for a bag of sugar first!
Oh you had wonderful neighbors…I forgot about the strawberries we had growing behind the garage that we would pick and eat…so sweet. Thanks for reminding me of more memories of summer Angie!!
Your memories got me thinking about my parents’ garden in my childhood… the buddleia always fascinated us, maybe more for the butterflies than the scent, but the best fragrance was the honeysuckle growing over from our neighbour’s garden. That smell is just wonderful! A lovely post Donna, with some inspiring quotes again.
So happy you enjoyed it Cathy. We had fragrant honeysuckle growing around the railing of our basement door…it is an amazing smell.
This is another wonderful post Donna, so many good memories go with your garden. Mine remembers my father’s great love for roses. He had the most magnificent rose garden. Wishing you a great weekend.
Oh how lovely Denise…my father fussed over his roses and I adored the scents all summer. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!
We didn’t even have street lights!
Summers were spent down the hill at the beach as a kid.
As a young mother, with my kids at the beach.
Now? I go to the beach once a year on 9/11, and then I have to wear plastic gloves because of E.Coli.
I usually mark the Longest Day with a tomato sandwich and rootbeer float
How fun is that…we had a neighborhood pool we swam in all summer and I grew up for my first 5 yrs at the Jersey shore…loved it…sad that you can’t go to the beach now Denise. Ah a tomato sandwich….I can’t wait to get the first tomatoes warm from the garden!!
Beautiful post Donna…. I know you will be able to enjoy your garden… But maybe at a slower pace for a bit…I discovered the joy of bees recovering last spring…. I wish you some joy…..hug
Thanks Michelle…for now I am bird watching and hoping to venture out a bit as I feel ready.
Hi Donna! You have such nice, sweet memories about your childhood! I believe it’s very important for a child to have a family that enjoys gardening. My best memories are about our garden and my mom who loved to grow flowers and veggies.
Have great summer and thanks again for your warm words.
Oh you are welcome Tatyana…I agree…gardening memories from childhood are so sweet. I wish I saw more of my neighbors gardening with their children…they seem to run to kid parties, soccer practice and the like instead. How much sweeter the memories if they just planted some flowers or had a few berries or veggies growing in a pot.
Night scented stock is my favourite scent of Summer.
Sounds lovely Bridget!!
I agree, Donna! The scents of summer are fabulous, and because it’s warm night and day, we can comfortably experience them around the clock. Summer rain is one of my favorites!!! I’ll be joining in with a link before the solstice! Cheers!
Ah the smell of summer rain…can’t wait to get my first great summer drenching!
Hi Donna: Here’s my link. Thanks, again, for hosting and collaborating!
for me it’s the garlic buchu that takes me back to school holidays spent with my oldest sister who lived in Riversdale.
Does it have a garlic scent Diana during your summer? That would be a great smell.
yes, I run my hands over the leaves – love that smell and its memories!
For me its the fragrance of crabapple and hawthorne in spring.
Those are great garden scents in spring Jason!!
When my garden was open to the public for a weekend, one of the visitors was a blind woman. Her husband guided her around, she stayed a long time, smelling everything. When she left she was very complimentary. I find it a challenge to talk about scent and smell using words, it’s such a different modality. Wintersweet is one of my favourite scented plants, and also honeysuckle. The perfume wafts on summer evenings, a long time to wait since today is the first day of winter.
Given you have winter now are there fall or winter scented plants that you love? If you want to write a post about your winter garden, I would love to see that and link in with you!!
ok Donna, I’ll try to organize myself enough to do a smelly tour of the garden. The ginger flowers were amazingly wafty, but they seem to have died now. Be in touch ….
After weeks of dry and hot weather, I recognized the smell of rain a couple of hours ago. And I love the smell of roses and rain! I do agree that smells can bring back vivid memories.
It will be a while before we have roses but you are right…roses especially sweetened with rain water are special.
Donna enjoy your summer with your garden, it sounds like you had quite idyllic childhood summers, how nice to have such memories, Frances
I think it was quite idyllic Frances or perhaps that is how I remember it…but I do feel grateful to have had these experiences!
When I was young, summers seemed to last forever…now time just flies by. My best summer memory was of all the fireflies out in the evening. I loved watching them blinking in the twilight. I haven’t seen any here in New England.
How sad Karen not to experience them still. I have tons of them especially during dry spells in the summer meadow garden….and it is magical.
I grew up in Norway, where the difference between the seasons are very marked. I lived up north as a child where we had 2 months of darkness in the winter and where you could get a suntan the whole night in June 🙂 I have lived in London the last 15 years and the differences are much less, some winter days are milder than some summer days and some winters are without frost at all. But I do enjoy being able to be out in my garden until 9:30pm right now.
As for scented flowers – to me they are a must in my garden and although I do have plants without scented flowers I would always go for some with if I can. When my around 150 lilies are in flower, my neighbours come and tell me they can smell them into their houses too!
Helene, what great experiences you had both as a child and now as an adult in London. To have daylight almost all day and being able to stay outside with your garden so late are blissful….I can only imagine your lilies and the scent that travels around the neighborhood….I look forward to seeing pictures of them all in bloom.
Reading your blog post today is like taking a slow stroll through linked childhood memories…scents capture feelings, and emotions…and bring them back to life once again.
I do love how you have interpreted my post Jen…you are spot on and I couldn’t have said it better.
I have to agree with others. Summer has been so hot that fragrance was not fresh in the air in recent summers. I notice the smells of spring like the honeysuckle and fruit trees. Spring brings the memories of childhood for me. Thick humid air puts a cork on many fragrant flowers for me.
Great to have those spring scented memories Donna!!
I have always found the floral scents of summer especially evocative. First, the fragrance of lilacs (which my mother used to bring inside as cut flowers), then the scents of some of the flowering trees, then peonies and roses and lilies. Whenever I see a previously unknown flower, I immediately stick my nose into it to check for fragrance (which is probably why my nose is so often dusted with pollen in the summer 🙂 ).
I also have my nose in flowers so we have the same dusty nose 🙂
I am smitten with the scents that travel around the garden on the wind and many of them are the ones you mention here….I wonder when I might see roses if at all this year. They took a hard hit. I will miss them if they do not bloom.
Scents are so important and are retained the longest. When I walk past my fig tree I am reminded of summers spent in my grandparent’s orchard. Figs and Peaches mostly. They sold them on the honor system and it was my job to collect the money from the coffee can at the end of the drive. The first tree I planted here was a fig nearly 20 years ago.
I’m joining in this time with a celebration of completing the borders.
What wonderful memories Shirley. And such strong ties to those scents. I am so excited that you have joined in and I am hopping over to read your post!!
Thank you for being part of Seasonal Celebrations!
What a lovely post, Donna! Scent certainly is one of the most powerful senses; in fact, I’ve read that it can evoke memories more easily than any other sense. Funny, but of all the inspiring images you’ve included here, the one that really struck me was homemade popsicles:) I’d forgotten all about those, but they were a favorite treat every summer!
I’m combining a little celebration of summer with Beth’s lessons learned, but my post probably won’t be up until Sat., the 21st. You can find it here: http://www.prairierosesgarden.blogspot.com
Ah those popsicles. I bought some forms so I could make my own and I am loving the wonderful treat as I did so many years ago. I am a bit late getting my post together so I will make sure yours is added and I will look for it tomorrow.
Thanks so much for joining in Seasonal Celebrations Rose!!
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