Sweet Scent of Summer


It was one of the first arresting fragrances I remember. In the hot entryway of Suzie’s Victorian home, a bouquet of mockorange blooms stood unobtrusively on the shelf that housed the Guest Book that I never failed to sign (I think I held the record for most signatures in that book – at the very least, I’m a strong contender – and I’m adding to it every few months.) On the day recalled here, the book was beside that vase of flowers which filled the space with the sweet scent of summer – the mockorange. Commonly named from its fragrant approximation of the sweet citrus blossom, it came at the very start of summer, when the world was at its seasonal happiest. Here, tamed in a smaller space than the expansive side-yard of Suzie’s house, it released its potent perfume, and I all but swooned at such sweetness.

Certain flowers carry their power in their fragrance. Peonies, lilacs, certain roses, lavender – each packs its own olfactory punch, conjuring memories of childhood or summers long gone by. The mockorange is one of them. Unassuming and rather rustic in leaf and form – even the flowers are simple and white – it makes up for the lack of visual pizzazz with a scent that would blow more stunning show-offs out of their colorful orbit. I like an underdog that can surprise in such a manner. And I love a mockorange in bloom.

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