It’s mid-June and my garden is filled with birdsong and fragrance. The deck acts like a promontory providing a bird’s eye view of the curving paths and herb and flower-filled beds spread out like a map, below. Colorful flashes of topaz Goldfinches and cobalt Bluebirds sketch swooping, scalloped flight paths, while songsters add their liquid musical notes. And filling the air with fragrance, Lavender, Southern Magnolia, Gardenia and Oriental Lilies (especially the Lilies) contribute their perfumed scents.
Birds are attracted to plentiful amounts of food in a healthy, organic garden. Brilliant yellow Goldfinches are irresistibly drawn by the seed heads of Peony Poppies, finished blooming but oh, so useful. As well, they feast on spent zinnias, hollyhock ‘cheeses’ and consume the centers of Coneflowers and Susans as they ripen.
The bright blue Bluebirds are industriously raising a (very hungry!) second brood, and zoom back and forth with tasty worms, grubs, an occasional choice slug, tiny Alpine strawberries and blueberries ripening now.
Meanwhile, the fragrance in this garden is intoxicating. Step onto the deck and into a world of sweet Lavender, richly-scented Gardenias, lemony Southern Magnolias and the perfume of the Oriental Lilies, most fragrant of all.
‘Phenomenal’ Lavender by Peace Tree Farm is fully in bloom by Fathers Day. Twelve plants follow the curve of the stone steps, where ankles may brush against it to revv up the aroma.
Neighbor Hugh has a tall Southern Magnolia whose foot-wide blossoms bend over backwards across the fence to add a lemony citrus note.
The ten-foot shrub Gardenia in the shady back garden is covered head-to-toe with waxy white blooms, their scent rewarding those who wander back so far.
Of all the fragrant flowers, I think Oriental Lilies are my favorites; even my dog is named Lily. Orientals and Orienpets grow strongly to 6 and 8 feet close above my head, and hold aloft candelabra of 16 or 24 huge perfumed flowers. My favorites are Casa Blanca, Honeymoon, Conca d’Or, Josephine and Muscadet. I plant more every fall, adding garlic cloves or top onions next to the bulbs to repel hungry rodents.
What does your garden hold? I’ll jot down notes in my garden notebook of where to squeeze in a few dozen more lilies this fall.