Plants for Seasons of Fragrance

Casa Blanca Lily in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Fragrant Casa Blanca Lily (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Ornamental gardens are traditionally designed for visual impact; vivacious blossoms are chosen to display a bold array of colors while shapely shrubs and grasses enhance the landscape with complementary hues and textures. But there is an unseen aspect to the garden that can be as alluring as the view itself, like the enchanting song of a siren luring you closer to the source. In a word: fragrance.

A luscious bourbon rose in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

A luscious heirloom rose (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

In 40BC, Cleopatra used sweetly scented rose petals to lure Mark Anthony to her bedchamber, and today our 21st century markets have followed suit with fragrant hygiene products and unique perfumes, all created to give us our own signature scent. People identify with fragrance, it has the power to soothe, entice or invigorate (think Aromatherapy) yet, it can also transport you in time. Think back to the fresh baked aroma of your grandmother’s apple pie or the first whiff of lilac blossoms in spring. Helen Keller said it best: “Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived”. [Read more…]

Burn the Burning Bush!

Fall Fothergilla in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Fothergilla’s range of fall colors (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

I travel on a lot of country roads during my ride to work, and enjoy the scenery along the way. Especially in the fall, as leaves start turning flashy shades of gold, orange and red.  Alas, there is a putrid, pinkish-red leaved villain littering the native landscape, a shrub that is non-native, highly invasive and virtually mundane and uninteresting except for its fall foliage.  It has taken over our native woods with reckless abandon and continues to dominate further and further every year.  Most will only notice it for those few weeks in autumn when it turns an almost freakish, faded red; a color resembling one of Santa’s suits after a few too many washes. Humdrum summer foliage, unnatural fall color, boring architecture, and a bully to boot, why, burning bush should be just that-burned! [Read more…]

Spring Fling

The deliciously fragrant viburnum flower in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

The deliciously fragrant viburnum flower (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Spring is the time of year when Mother Nature turns her switch to “ON” and all the dreary browns evaporate into a sea of green. Seemingly overnight, blades of grass sprout up, leaves metamorphose from buds to butterfly wings, even the air is electrified with the sounds and smells that only spring can broadcast. And speaking of scents reminiscent of spring, here a few of my favorite harbingers of fragrance: [Read more…]

Shrubs for Fabulous Foliage

Viburnum Winterthur in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’ (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Fall foliage is nature’s firework expo, signaling the end of one season and the beginning of another. As the last colorful petals of summer trickle to the ground, trees and shrubs continue the vibrant display across our landscapes, often extending the show for several more weeks. You don’t have to have a huge yard or a degree in gardening to have fiery beauties thriving on your property, as most color producers are low maintenance and tolerant of modest soil conditions. Following are a few of my favorite prismatic exhibitionists for your consideration:
[Read more…]

Viburnum Infatuation

Viburnum Carlesii in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Fragrant Viburnum Carlesii Blossoms (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Heart beats silly like a big bass drum, losing all equilibrium . . . Infatuation” ~Rod Stewart

We’ve all experienced some sort of infatuation in our lives, but I’m referring to my all absorbing passion for fragrant viburnums.  When standing near their intoxicating blooms, I become distracted and disoriented.  Where am I?  Surely mythical sirens could have lured far more sailors to their lair with the scent of viburnums wafting on the ocean breeze than with their melodious songs . . . [Read more…]

Buds of Promise

Aesculus' Spring Buds in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Aesculus’ Spring Buds (photo credit:Kathy Diemer)

There is something special about a flower bud; within its tightly wrapped package lies a gift of unknown beauty.  For until this bud spreads itself open to our yearning eyes, it remains precious, yet elusive.  This is a time of firsts, of beginnings and opportunities to experience with fresh eyes and heightened senses.  It is our chance to drink in the unique beauty that is held within the simplicity of a single bud. [Read more…]