We have neighbors who grow lavender near a path in their yard, and why in the world I have never gotten around to planting some in our garden is beyond me. I love its fragrance.
As one of my flower books reminds me: “If plants with aromatic foliage are among your favorites, you won’t want to be without lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), a 2- to 3-foot shrub commonly planted with herbaceous perennials and in herb gardens.”
I even like saying Lavandula – but not quite as much as smelling it.
The topic of lavender prompted a conversation among a few of us about other favorite summer smells – or the smells that remind us of summer.
There were the usual ones – Coppertone, chicken on the grill, campfires – as well as geographical ones. Fresh sea air by the coast. Evergreen trees in the Adirondacks. Toasted Cheerios from the General Mills facility in downtown Buffalo.
I asked people for a few others summer smells. Keep it clean, I requested. No smells of sweaty sweatshirts, dead fish on the beach or dogs after they have rolled in dead fish on the beach.
Not everyone likes the same smells, of course. One friend told me she can’t stand the smell of lavender, for example. I can accept that.
Here are some other responses:
• Freshly mowed grass (some prefer it at dusk but, then again, this has not been a big summer for mowing).
• Beach towels. Wet or dry, they always smell a bit like, well, the beach (or the pool).
• Oriental lilies.
• Fresh herbs you pick yourself from your garden.
• Summer rain (not much of that this year).
• Freshly popped kettle corn.
• Shortcake biscuits straight from the oven, awaiting strawberries or peaches.
• Bed linens dried on the clothesline.
• Corn silk – even if trying to remove it all while shucking drives you crazy. Grilled corn smells good, but so does boiling it in a big kettle on the stove.
• Charcoal grilling hot dogs at The Hatch – or anywhere.
• Peach ice cream.
• Citronella candles.
• Marshmallows toasted to a golden brown.
• A freshly washed and waxed car sitting in the driveway.
• Pavement or deck after a rainfall or hose down.
• A child’s skin after swimming in a pool – waterproof sunscreen mixed with chlorine with a dash of Popsicle. It may be the only time the child is not sticky all summer long.