Scents in Isolation, after the Rain

It is not my imagination! I’m sure … well almost sure … that scents from my garden are sweeter in this early Covid summer.

As I open the back door I halt where I hover on the doorstep, overpowered by the strongest perfume … in fact, not just one but a mingling of several. I immediately identify the tang from the artemesia, self seeded in the crack between wall and terrace flagstone.

Next is the sweetness of honeysuckle. As well as its perfume I love its confidence as it runs amock, refusing to be bound by its alloted space. This, blends with the more astringent perfume from the underplanted lavender, (this terrace lavender always flowers a few days before those dotted in the wider garden) and accompanies my step on to the paving.

There is an undertone, a hint of pepper, more taste than smell. This must be the nasturtiums making their presence felt. Even the sleeping form of the House Dragon cannot intimidate the plate-leafed, orange trumpeted, salad plants. They are determined to play their part in this thrill for the senses.

As the breeze freshens I am suddenly transported to Wimbledon, to primary school, to the days of clipped hedges, soldierly ranks of bedding plants…no, no, back up…to tightly clipped hedges…

… to grubby ankle socks and scuffed Clarke’s’ sandal; to paint-smeared, summer, school dresses and scabbed knees … to privet!

The humble, postwar hedge plant of choice. With its perfume in the air, I see again the child I was, reluctant scholar but climber-extraordinaire of trees on the common and forager-of and grubber-beneath hedges, transported by both to worlds of my own.

Finally, as I finish my tour of the garden, the delight of rose perfume wafts on damp air. So powerful that again I have to stop, to stoop towards each drop-laden bloom and inhale as deeply as I can.

Utterly in the moment I fill my lungs,
I think,
I smell,
I live rose.

I am not isolated.
I was never guarded by anything other than the joy of the garden on its journey through Spring into early Summer.
Bringing a succession of gifts, freely, generously given.